Toshiba will begin selling flash memory chips capable of holding up to 2GB in April, the company said on Wednesday.

Availability should mean that higher capacity flash memory cards are on the horizon. That's because the capacity of such cards, which are commonly used in digital cameras, music players and a myriad of other gadgets, are limited by the number of chips that can be physically crammed inside. Being able to store more data inside each individual chip allows for a jump in card capacity without any space concerns.

The new chips and ones than can hold 1GB of data were first made available to Toshiba's customers late last year as engineering samples. Commercial samples will come in March and then in chips suitable for use in commercial cards will be available from April, said Hiroko Mochida, a spokeswoman for Toshiba in Tokyo.

The chips are the highest capacity yet available from any manufacturer, according to Toshiba, and are based on a new production process developed by the Japanese company and its partner Sandisk. The 56-nanometre production process achieves double the memory density over the current 70nm process used by Toshiba.

Samples will cost ¥3,800 per chip.