Flash memory is becoming more and more important as speed, size, and power take center stage and pure storage capacity takes a back seat. Phones and tablets are driving the flash market to expand rapidly, but laptops like the MacBook Air are taking advantage of it as well. Today, SanDisk announced what they claim to be the smallest 16 GB flash chip ever made.[quote]The 19 nanometer, three-bit-per-cell storage has a footprint of about 170mm square (0.26in square), or less than that of a penny. It’s also relatively quick for its capacity and size at 144Mbps (18MB) per second.[/quote]
Sixteen gigs might not sound like a lot, but installing a couple of small, efficient flash chips in a laptop or tablet is completely viable, and larger storage capacities will be on their way soon enough. This is a market with an insane amount of innovation, and Apple is usually among the first companies to jump on the latest and greatest.
It amazes me how far we’ve come. My first hard drive was one gigabyte, and it was comparatively huge. This penny-sized chip holds more than an order of magnitude more information, and it’s been less than 20 years between the two. Things are moving fast, and it seems like there is no end in sight.