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A prominent leader in the semiconductor memory technology segment: Winbond

One of the crucial elements in today’s electronics is semiconductor memory technology. Any equipment that makes use of a processor of any kind will have semiconductor technology in it. There is a significant need for semiconductor memories and there are various types of memory and number of technologies that have made its presence felt in this segment. In the technology literature, you can find names like RAM, EEPROM, EPROM, ROM, DRAM, SRAM, Flash Memory, and the latest addition MRAM. Each one comes with its own set of perks and areas in which it can be used.

The use of semiconductor memory has grown and the size of these memory cards has also increased to accommodate large amounts of storage. To meet the growing demand, new memory technologies are introduced by expert memory technology companies like Winbond Electronics Corporation.

Founded in 1987, Winbond Electronics is a total memory solution provider based in Taichung, Taiwan. Winbond’s product portfolio, consisting of Specialty DRAM, Mobile DRAM and Code Storage Flash, is widely used by tier-1 customers in communication, consumer electronics, automotive and industrial, and computer peripheral markets. Winbond is also a leading specialty and secure memory supplier. With the introduction of TrustME Security Solution, Winbond has dedicated ourselves to providing high quality secure external storage for code and data in SoC- and processor-based systems. The company also has subsidiaries in the USA, Japan, Israel, China and Hong Kong.

 

In the era where everything is going digital and cloud, how to keep those data secure in IoT devices?

GDPR, EU Cybersecurity Act, US CA SB-327 have clear security requirements in privacy, confidentiality, authentication, integrity, resilience of the system and personal data. Most remote connected devices are facing the challenges from remote software attacks since most remote devices might not be physically accessible to hackers. For embedded system, standard flash is used often to store code and data. So the boot code and firmware are stored in non-secure standard flash which becomes the vulnerabilities due to lack of security protection. Meanwhile, how to update firmware securely Over-The-Air (OTA) is also essential to remote connected devices. Winbond’s TrustME® secure memory W77Q is “Security by Design” and targets to address the remote software attacks. W77Q is complementary to SoC/ MCU (which might not have good and enough security features). W77Q is designed for platform firmware resilience by protection, detection, recovery and also provides secure OTA firmware update.

W77Q is also designed for being compliant with regulations and certifications, such as GDPR, EU cybersecurity act, CA SB-327, Common Criteria, SESIP, PSA, IEC62443 etc. Certified chips means “trusted and proven” thanks to the accredited lab and certification body.

 

What motivated you reinvent the power saving capabilities?

We are really positioning ourselves very well to address the IoT market. We have an existing complete family of serial NOR flash products at 1.8V and 3V ranging from 512Kb through 2Gb densities. We are the first company in the flash memory industry to offer a brand new family of the lowest voltage products at 1.2V. Moreover, we offer these products in different small packages which are ideal for space constrained applications like wearable and other sub sections of IoT. The biggest advantage of using the new 1.2V family of products is the savings in power consumption. A user saves 30% more power by using the 1.2V products compared to 1.8V products. For lower power consumption, we also offer an extended 1.5V family of products. In today’s battery based designs, one uses two 1.5V batteries in series to support 3V flash products. However, with our extended 1.5V family of flash, the user needs only one 1.5V battery hence saving the cost of a battery on the same design. With the savings in power using these low voltage products, we are doing our due diligence for our Corporate Social Responsibility. By helping our customers use these low voltage, low power consuming products; we are helping the environment and being a part of the green world.

 

Do you think the latest available storage technology is sufficient to cater the ever growing amount of data? If not, do you think Winbond has the capacity to fill the gap in sophisticated automotive display applications?

Winbond's major product lines include Code Storage Flash Memory, Specialty DRAM and Mobile DRAM. Our advantage of technological autonomy and prudent capacity strategy enables us to build a highly flexible production system and create synergy among product lines, which allows us to meet the diverse demands of customers while building the brand image. Our Flash memory packages offer features such as low pin count, small size, high speed, and low cost. We also develop QspiNAND, SLC NAND and OctalNAND flash products to meet client demands for code storage. With considerable market share in computer peripheral markets, we also actively develop a diversity of flash memory products for applications in mobile devices, consumer electronics, automotive electronics, IoT and wearable devices. Winbond specializes in the design of high-performance, low-power memory. With a 12-inch fab, we also offer a whole series of Specialty DRAM and Mobile DRAM products that target a top-tier clientele and quality-oriented applications. Winbond’s products are used extensively in handheld devices, consumer electronics and computer peripherals. We also focus on high-barrier, high-quality applications, such as KGD, automotive and industrial electronics.

 

Despite the pandemic, Winbond continues to be a leader in its respective verticals. What sets the company apart from competitors? As a leader, what is the company’s outlook for the future of DRAM, Flash Memory, and Security?

Based on recent market data from WebFeet Research, Winbond took the number-one NOR revenue position in 2019 with a 22.8% market share. In support of this mission, shipped more than 3 billion Flash memories in 2019, which is the leadership position with 27.3% of all NOR Flash units worldwide. Additionally, Winbond has been the top supplier of Serial NOR Flash since 2012 and has 27.1% market share out of a total revenue of $2B.  Meeting the growing flash memory needs of its customers around the world with its own 12-inch wafer fabrication facility in Taichung - Taiwan, it has now planned to start construction of a second 12-inch wafer manufacturing facility in Kaohsiung in Southern Taiwan. This second fabrication facility will make it convenient for further expansion and growth of flash manufacturing at the Taichung facility to meet the demands of new applications of flash memories like AI, Automotive, Storage, Networking and 5G.

Recently, Winbond also announced its new 1Gb LPDDR3 DRAM powering AIoT and 8K TV applications to embrace new growth opportunities. With the rapid rise of Internet of Things (IoT) combining with artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, the emerging application with AI engine boosting to be powerful and popular in coming years. 1Gb LPDDR3 is the best partner to assist your AI device to get into this market. With exploiting its advanced design skills and production technologies, Winbond is continually boosting the competitive advantages of its dedicated brand-name products. The completed product series are designed to meet the demands of niche memory market for high-speed memory with low-power consumption.

Winbond is dedicated to develop the certified secure storage solution to be compliant with regulations and certifications, such as GDPR, EU cybersecurity act, CA SB-327, Common Criteria, SESIP, PSA, IEC62443 etc. Winbond security solutions (W75F, W77Q) cover the range of security levels of EU Cybersecurity Act from high, substantial to basic. Winbond is also collaborating with prestigious partners in security ecosystem for provide chain of trust. Security should be a dispensable part of value chain irrespective of IoT, IIOT, AIoT, automotive. The asset should always need protection.

 

“In the future, Winbond will continue to provide customer-oriented services and concentrate our resources on the markets in which we have a competitive advantage.”

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