SMART Group - Surface Mount and Related Technologies

Smartphones to Take Larger Share of Flash Memory Usage

In another sign of their rising clout in the supply chain, smartphones next year will account for a larger share of NAND flash memory usage than feature phones, the first time this has ever happened.

Approximately 792 million flash memory units, including both NOR and NAND varieties, will ship in 2013 to smartphones, compared to 703 million units for feature phones, according to an IHS iSuppli Memory On the Move Market Brief from information and analytics provider IHS. This compares to a total of 790 million units this year for feature phones, and 613 million units for smartphones, as presented in the figure below.

That means that between 2012 and 2013 there will be a 29 percent growth in flash memory shipments for smartphones, versus an 11 percent decline for feature phones.

“Because feature phones this year will remain the largest segment of the global mobile handset market, they will continue to consume the largest amount of flash memory of any single type of phone,” said Ryan Chien, analyst for memory storage at IHS. “However, a permanent reversal will ensue next year as smartphones overtake feature phones in total units and flash memory shipments. This illustrates the rising influence of smartphones within technology markets.”

Feature Phones Remain Relevant

Despite their anticipated loss of market leadership, feature phones will continue to make up a substantial portion of flash memory shipments in the years ahead, accounting for well over 500 million units each year through 2016.

Overall, flash memory densities continue to rise as bit costs erode and as feature phones grow in sophistication to meet the changing needs of consumers, especially in the emerging markets of the developing world where consumers are becoming increasingly mobile-centric. High-density NOR remains common in feature phones because of its superior speed for code execution, while NAND densities of 128 megabytes can now be found in mainstream feature handsets in order to handle applications and media storage.

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