Average DRAM density in tablets to rise by 147 percent in 2011

Average DRAM density in tablets to rise by 147 percent in 2011

Business news |
By eeNews Europe

“With tablets handling more data-intensive applications such as video, the average DRAM content in these platforms during 2011 will be about two-and-a-half times more than last year’s 274 MB,” said Mike Howard, principal analyst for DRAM & memory at IHS. “The rapid expansion will continue next year, when average DRAM in tablets reaches approximately 1.3 gigabytes (GB). In 2015, tablets will have DRAM content similar to that of today’s laptops, reaching 3.7 GB.”

Tablet DRAM density will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 68 percent from 2010 to 2015.

Despite the substantial increase this year of DRAM content in tablets, growth could have been even greater if Apple Inc.’s recently released iPad 2 turned out to have the full 1 GB of DRAM—similar to the iPad’s competitors, which prior assumptions seemed to indicate—instead of just 512 MB. In comparison, the Xoom by Motorola, the TouchPad by Hewlett-Packard and the BlackBerry Playbook by Research In Motion—tablet devices competing with the iPad—each has 1 GB of DRAM.

Apple’s choice to include only 512 MB of DRAM isn’t really surprising, however, given that the company is attempting to focus on the overall tablet experience rather than its product specifications, IHS believes. Just the same, Apple’s dominance of the tablet market at present—taken in consideration with the 512 MB in its iPad devices—means that the overall increase in DRAM content this year was much less than if Apple had used 1 GB.

Meanwhile, speculation abounds that the next version of the iPad might feature a Retina display similar to Apple’s iPhone 4 and iPod Touch. If this turns out to be true, DRAM content surely will jump to 1 GB, Howard predicts, which then would alter the forecast and result in even greater DRAM content growth in tablet devices. Future releases of the iOS operating system by Apple might also unleash iPad functionality that could require more DRAM.

DRAM growth in tablets is mirrored by a similar increase of DRAM content this year in smart phones, projected to grow 62 percent; and in tablets, expected to climb 33 percent. Around the 2012 to 2013 time frame, tablets will become a significant DRAM category rivaling smart phones, IHS iSuppli research indicates. And while both tablets and smart phones use less DRAM content per device than PCs, their combined shipments in 2011 will outnumber those of PCs, making them categories well worth watching in the DRAM arena.

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