SanDisk Corp, readying a major foray into the booming market for netbooks or mini-laptop computers, launched memory chip products targeted at users of the light, portable PCs.
The company, whose rivals include Micron Technology Inc, Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor, introduced a removable flash memory card it dubbed the Netbook SDHC card and next-generation solid-state drives for netbooks, called the pSSD P2 and S2.
The solid-state drives -- flash-memory based drives said to consume less energy than traditional hard drives -- are especially suited for use with netbooks powered by ARM microprocessors, rather than Intel's Atom, though SanDisk executives said they would work with both companies.
SanDisk argues that solid-state memory can be faster and even cheaper.
All-day battery life is critical in the netbook space, where OEMs carefully evaluate each component for optimal energy efficiency, said Glen Burchers, consumer marketing director for partner Freescale Semiconductor.
Tech component makers are trotting out products geared to the netbook market, a fast-growing electronics market at a time retailers are slashing inventory and consumers are tightening their wallets.
SanDisk's new products, oriented toward a netbook market that IT research IDC expects to quadruple to 50 million units in 2013 from 11.5 million in 2008, were unveiled on Tuesday at the Computex conference in Taipei.
The company, which has predicted improvement in its business in 2009, is hoping that strengthening demand for flash memory chips, its core business, will prove sustainable after a collapse in prices since last year.
SanDisk has said it expects prices for its NAND flash memory -- used in cameras, cellphones, music players and other digital devices -- to remain stable to slightly higher in the current quarter. [ID:nN21451107]
(Reporting by Clare Baldwin and Edwin Chan; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Carol Bishopric)