It's a big day for SATA-IO, as the organization has just announced not one, but two new SATA standards. The first of these, the SATA Express specification, gets the latter half of its name from the 'e' in PCIe, as it will allow current SATA standards to piggyback on the PCIe interface, boosting speeds to 8Gbps and 16Gbps, up from the current 6Gbps. SATA Express is expected to make its official debut later this year. SATA µSSD, on the other hand, is currently ready to go, and already implemented in SanDisk's iSSD embedded drive. It ditches the module connector from the old interface, allowing OEMs to stack single-chip drives right on the motherboard. A plethora of SATA-related press releases awaits you after the break -- if you're into that sort of thing.
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SATA-IO to Enable Higher Speed Storage Applications with SATA Express Specification

New Specification Provides Next Generation Storage Solutions for Solid State and Hybrid Drives

BEAVERTON, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO), the industry consortium dedicated to sustaining the quality, integrity and dissemination of Serial ATA (SATA™) technology, today announced it is developing SATA Express™, a new specification that combines SATA software infrastructure with the PCI Express® (PCIe®) interface. SATA Express enables the development of new devices that utilize the PCIe interface and maintain compatibility with existing SATA applications. The technology will provide a cost-effective means to increase device interface speeds to 8Gb/s and 16Gb/s.

"We expect the SATA Express specification to be completed by the end of 2011."

Solid state (SSDs) and hybrid drives are already pushing the limits of existing storage interfaces. SATA Express will provide a low-cost solution to fully utilize the performance of these devices. Storage devices not requiring the speed of SATA Express will continue to be served by existing SATA technology. The specification will define new device and motherboard connectors that will support both new SATA Express and current SATA devices.

"The SATA Express specification provides SSD and hybrid drive manufacturers the advantages of performance and scalability enabled by PCIe 3.0 – which is available now – and the ubiquity of SATA," said Mladen Luksic, SATA-IO president. "We expect the SATA Express specification to be completed by the end of 2011."

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SanDisk Implements New SATA µSSD™ Specification for Embedded Solid State Drives
• Connector-free, high-capacity, embedded SSDs enable new generation of tablets and ultrathin notebooks
• SanDisk® iSSD™ integrated solid state device series featuring the new SATA µSSD specification is available for sampling now

Flash Memory Summit 2011

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--FLASH MEMORY SUMMIT - SanDisk Corporation
(NASDAQ:SNDK), a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, today announced that it has implemented the new SATA µSSD™ specification into its SanDisk iSSD product line of postage stamp-sized embedded SSDs. SATA-IO, an industry consortium dedicated to sustaining the quality, integrity and dissemination of serial ATA (SATA™) technology, introduced the standard today.

"Initiatives such as the µSSD specification promote the development of new standards for storage solutions that help manufacturers continually refine their end consumer product and drive new industry sectors."

The number of media tablets shipped worldwide is expected to grow from 17.8 million units in 2010 to 53.5 million units in 2011. The five-year CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) is 48.5 percent, according to the IDC 1Q11 Media Tablet and eReader Tracker Forecast. These thin, high-performance mobile computing platforms combine sophisticated components in a small physical area, compounding design complexity and driving the need for industry standards.

Embedded SSDs offer fast performance in a tiny footprint, making them an attractive solution for all categories of ultrathin devices. The SATA µSSD specification eliminates the module connector from the traditional SATA interface, enabling developers to produce a single-chip SATA implementation for embedded storage applications. Among the first products to implement the new standard, the SanDisk iSSD series is an ideal storage solution for OEMs developing the next generation of thin, powerful mobile computing platforms.

"To widely adopt a new component technology, manufacturers need to have confidence in its performance, longevity and cost-effectiveness," said Jeff Janukowicz, research manager, solid state storage technology, IDC. "Today's announcement of an industry-wide standardization for embedded SSDs, combined with OEM requirements for size and performance gains in storage, should help propel the market for these tiny, versatile drives."

"Connector-free embedded SSDs allow OEMs to develop a new generation of thin yet powerful tablets and ultrathin notebooks," said Kevin Conley, senior vice president, client storage solutions, SanDisk. "Initiatives such as the µSSD specification promote the development of new standards for storage solutions that help manufacturers continually refine their end consumer product and drive new industry sectors."

The SATA µSSD standard-conforming SanDisk iSSD series utilizes a new electrical pin-out that allows SATA delivery using a single ball grid array (BGA) package. The BGA package sits directly on the motherboard, allowing for form factors as small as 16mm x 20mm x 1.2mm (up to 32GB)/1.4mm (for 64GB) and 16mm x 20mm x 1.85mm (for 128GB). The SanDisk iSSD i100 SSD is available in 8 gigabyte (GB)1 to 128GB capacities, offering OEMs a flexible range of storage options.

"The market for tablets and ultrathin computing devices continues to grow along with the need for small form factor storage solutions," said Mladen Luksic, president, SATA-IO. "We are excited to have industry-wide support for the µSSD specification and look forward to seeing many µSSD-based products available in the near future."
SanDisk Solid State Drives

Supported by vertical integration and more than 20 years of flash memory innovation, SanDisk SSDs empower global manufacturers to satisfy the growing consumer demand for powerful mobile computing platforms such as tablets and notebooks. SanDisk offers a full range of client PC SSD products, including the U100 SSD for cost-effective performance and customizable form factors, the SanDisk iSSD for OEMs who need an embedded µSSD SATA form factor, and a consumer offering that includes the SanDisk Ultra® SSD, which serves as a drop-in replacement for hard disk drives.

About SanDisk
SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK) is a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, from research and development, product design and manufacturing to branding and distribution for OEM and retail channels. Since 1988, SanDisk's innovations in flash memory and storage system technologies have provided customers with new and transformational digital experiences. SanDisk's diverse product portfolio includes flash memory cards and embedded solutions used in smart phones, tablets, digital cameras, camcorders, digital media players and other consumer electronic devices, as well as USB flash drives and solid-state drives (SSD) for the computing market. SanDisk's products are used by consumers and enterprise customers around the world.

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SATA-IO Introduces New Standard for Embedded SSDs
µSSD Specification Eliminates Connector for Easy Integration in Embedded Devices

BEAVERTON, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO), the consortium dedicated to sustaining the quality, integrity and dissemination of serial ATA (SATA™) technology, today announced a new standard for embedded solid state drives (SSDs). The SATA µSSD™ specification eliminates the module connector from the traditional SATA Interface, enabling developers to produce a single-chip SATA implementation for embedded storage applications.

"As tablets and other small computing devices continue to proliferate in the market, the need for scalable small form factor storage solutions rises exponentially"

The µSSD standard offers a high-performance, low-cost, embedded storage solution for mobile computing platforms like ultra-thin laptops. The specification defines a new electrical pin-out that allows SATA to be delivered using a single ball grid array (BGA) package. The BGA package sits directly on the motherboard, supporting the SATA interface without a connecting module. By eliminating the connector the µSSD standard enables the physically smallest SATA implementation to date, making it an ideal solution for embedding storage in small form factor devices.

"As tablets and other small computing devices continue to proliferate in the market, the need for scalable small form factor storage solutions rises exponentially," said Mladen Luksic, SATA-IO president. "µSSD provides a new way to leverage the speed, reliability, and low power requirements of SATA technology in these types of products to enable powerful new computing platforms."

SATA-IO is also developing interoperability tests for µSSD products that will help ensure devices based on the µSSD standard will be compatible with other µSSD-based products. Products based on the µSSD specification are already available from SanDisk Corporation. Samsung and Toshiba have also expressed support for the standard.

The µSSD specification was developed as part of SATA-IO's continued mission to provide low-cost, high performance storage solutions optimized for a variety of device segments. Since its introduction in 2001, SATA technology has evolved to enable storage options for a number of applications beyond traditional hard disk PC storage. SATA is now implemented in a variety of applications including solid state and optical drives, embedded mobile devices, consumer electronics products and enterprise storage.

SATA specifications are available for members to download at no cost. Non-members may purchase the specification for a nominal fee. Click here for more information on accessing the specifications.

Industry Support for µSSD
Flash industry leaders are supportive of the µSSD initiative. SanDisk currently utilizes the new specification in its iSSD™ integrated storage device, the world's smallest, fastest 128GB (SATA 6 G/bs) SSD, and other companies are making plans to follow suit.

"The SATA µSSD™ standard is a significant industry achievement that brings high-performance SSD storage in a BGA form factor," said Kevin Conley, senior vice president, client storage solutions, SanDisk. "This is enabling OEM designs of new super-thin Ultrabooks and tablets with high SATA performance."

"The µSSD specification will enable embedded storage applications to give designers greater design flexibility," said Scott Nelson, VP Memory Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. "Toshiba is pleased to support the development of this specification, which will help enable the continued evolution of thinner and smaller personal computing devices."

About SATA-IO
Formed in September 2004, SATA-IO is the International Organization that owns and manages Serial ATA specifications as open industry standards. The organization defines and implements the Serial ATA specifications as the industry's storage needs evolve. It is dedicated to sustaining the quality, integrity and dissemination of SATA technology by maintaining the specifications, promoting and marketing the benefits of the technology and creating future interface features and specifications that carry storage into the next decade. Additional information about the organization, its participating companies and membership is available at www.sata-io.org.