Mobile memory market soars

February 14, 2011 // By Mark LaPedus
Mobile memory market soars
The use of NAND flash memory for tablet PCs in 2011 will explode almost fivefold, according to IHS iSuppli. Tablet consumption of NAND flash is expected in 2011 to jump to 2.3 billion gigabytes (GB), up 382.4 percent from 476.8 million GB in 2010, reflecting a 4.8 times increase in 1-GB-equivalent units during the past year, according to the firm. That figure will hit 12.3 billion GB by 2014, according to the firm.

The proportion of NAND flash use among tablets, measured against the total supply of NAND memory, will jump to 11.8 percent in 2011, significantly up from 4.3 percent last year. By 2014, that figure will climb to 16 percent.

“The bump in NAND consumption among tablets is likely to come from devices such as Apple Inc.'s iPad as well as a raft of tablet devices powered by the rival Android operating system, expected to hit the market this year,” said Dee Nguyen, analyst for memory and storage at IHS, in a statement. “Together, the iPad and Android-based tablets form one strand of the tablet experience offered by manufacturers—one centering on Internet-based media consumption. For such tablets, internal storage capacity is less an issue because the devices are intended to provide entertainment, not a full PC computing experience.”

NAND flash is also hot in other markets. But DRAM is in a slump amid a slowdown in PCs.

But the market for mobile DRAM is set for 71 percent growth this year, defying a slowdown in overall DRAM sales, according to new IHS iSuppli research. Mobile DRAM is a specialized variety of DRAM that incorporates advanced power management features.

2011 mobile DRAM shipments are projected to reach 2.9 billion gigabits (Gb), up from 1.7 billion Gb in 2010. Growth will continue during the following years, with shipments reaching 20.5 billion Gb in 2015, up by a factor of 12 from the total in 2010, as shown in the attached figure, according to the firm.

“In contrast with the weakening performance of the overall DRAM market, growth in mobile DRAM is surging, thanks to the ongoing proliferation of smart phones on the one hand, and to an increasing public appetite for newly popular tablets like Apple Inc.'s iPad on the other,” said Mike Howard, principal analyst for DRAM and memory at IHS, in a statement. “As these mobile devices handle more data-intensive applications,


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