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Contour Semiconductor

Contour Semiconductor, founded in 2001, is a developing a new generation of non-volatile chips that overcomes the scalability, durability and performance limitations of NAND flash. The patented Contour technology also extends to a new non-volatile memory fabrication process that reduces the process steps by 65% compared to NAND flash, dramatically reducing the cost of a building a memory fab and creating a chip cost profile that makes the technology affordable for a complete spectrum of consumer and enterprise applications, from cell phones and tablets to big data storage.

See also:- Contour's technology page

Editor's comments:- April 23, 2014 - I was lucky enough to stumble across Contour Semiconductor recently as a result of 2 recent updates by my linkedin contacts. But as you can see - the company was established a long time ago and has been working on new memory circuits, architectures and related manufacturing processes.

Until recently - planar flash memory still had plenty of roadmap life left - which gave little incentive for memory makers to risk investing in disruptive wafer processing techniques (in comparison to incrementally improving storage density in ways they had already done many times before).

Even the shift towards so-called "3D flash" - can be viewed as the least risk and least number of disruptive new technologies route to attain higher capacity storage devices which leverage as much as possible of traditional memory design IP.

Contour's technology is based on a different approach which the company's founder describes as "an inherently self-aligning, low cost semiconductor manufacturing process that obviates the need for (quite so much - editor's moderating note) photolithography."

The result - if it works at competitive SSD scales - would be greater efficiency of usable storage capacity compared to the raw semiconductor assets (chip area multiplied by the number of layers and processing steps) which went into making it. Resulting in lower cost SSD storage.

See also:- Efficiency as internecine SSD competitive advantage
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Contour names new CEO
Editor:- April 23, 2014 - Contour Semiconductor is a new (long time in development) company which I only learned about this week via a couple of my linkedin contacts.

You might want to learn more about them too.

Why's that?

“Contour’s new chip technology has the potential to be every bit as disruptive to the solid state flash market as flash was to hard disks drives” says Saul Zales who was named Contour's new CEO in a press release yesterday.

Saul Zales is well qualified to judge those markets - as his background includes flash or SSD related business development at some well known SSD companies - namely Fusion-io and Intel.
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"It’s tempting to offer an “origin story” about solving these problems and addressing the $25 billion NAND flash memory market opportunity with a new chip cost profile.

The truth is I just wanted a CD-ROM that wouldn’t become damaged while I listened to my music in my car. I wanted solid-state memory at a cost per bit as low as a CD-ROM or a DVD."
Daniel Shepard, CTO & Founder at Contour Semiconductor - in his blog - Welcome to Contour (April 21, 2014)