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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Two Korean memory vendors--Hynix Semiconductor Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.--are separately gearing up for a push into the three-bit-per-cell NAND flash race.

On Tuesday (June 4), Hynix developed a 32-gigabyte NAND flash memory using three-bit-per-cell technology, according to a report from Chosun Ilbo.

''We were surprised to hear from one of our contacts that Samsung is to begin production of 3-bit per cell NAND at the end of 2008,'' said Daniel Amir, an analyst at Lazard Capital Markets, in a recent report. ''Up until now, this technology has been the highlight of the SanDisk story, as that company--with Toshiba--are the only ones that have this technology,'' he said. ''However, Samsung's attempt to produce 3-bit per cell NAND puts a challenge to SanDisk's IP claim on this technology. While we do not know how this could play out, we see this data point as potentially negative for SanDisk.''