Toshiba to raise solid-state drive output 15-fold

TOKYO Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:49pm EST

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TOKYO Nov 27 (Reuters) - Japan's Toshiba Corp (6502.T) said it planned to increase its output of flash memory-based solid state drives (SSDs) 15-fold over the next two years, aiming to control half of the global market for the new memory devices.

SSDs, which use NAND flash memory, are seen as a promising alternative to hard disk drives used in laptop PCs as they are more shock-resistant and consume less power.

Toshiba, the world's No. 2 maker of NAND flash memory, and rivals such as top-ranked Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) are hoping growth in the SSD market will help revive the industry, which is battling steep price falls due to over-capacity.

The high cost of SSDs compared with hard disk drives with the same memory capacity has until now hindered PC makers' shift to flash memory-based drives, but the rising popularity of smaller, cheaper PCs is expected to boost demand for the new technology.

Toshiba said it planned to expand SSD output at its Yokkaichi factory in western Japan to 600,000 units a month by March 2011 from the current 40,000 units a month, and it projects about 10 percent of laptop PCs worldwide will use the new drives in 2010/11.

Samsung and Toshiba partner SanDisk Corp (SNDK.O) already make solid-state drives.

Toshiba shares were up 3.3 percent at 345 yen as of 0145 GMT, outperforming a 2.4 percent rise in the Nikkei average .N225. (Reporting by Sachi Izumi; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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