Analyst firm iSuppli recently issued a report forecasting a major surge in shipments of NAND flash memory, driven by the explosion in the tablet device market. Led by Apple’s introduction of the iPad™ earlier this year (and its immediate success with consumers), we’re now seeing a flood of competitive tablet offerings from OEMs spanning the industry--from the traditional PC manufacturers to smartphone OEMs and other mobile gadget makers. It’s impossible to predict which tablet versions will catch on with consumers and which ones will quietly fade out of circulation, but we do know that NAND flash will be in high demand for this product segment.
According to the iSuppli report, shipments of NAND for tablet devices are expected to reach 1.7 billion (yes billion!) GB in 2011, which is nearly a 300 percent increase over this year’s expected 428 million GB shipped. And this rising tide isn’t expected to pull back anytime soon—the report forecasts 8.8 billion GB in NAND shipments by 2014.
I had the chance to get some additional perspective on the report from Michael Yang at iSuppli, the analyst who wrote the report, and here’s what he had to say: “The NAND market is shifting from commodity-driven to embedded-driven, led by Smartphones and the rising interest in tablets. With at least 30 models anticipated before the end of the year, tablets’ rosy outlook is a boon for NAND flash memory. We expect average density of these tablets to grow from 28GB this year to 65GB in 2014.” From the Micron perspective, we’re excited about the end products making good use of the innovations we’ve made in NAND. With the rise in smartphone offerings, along with the increased adoption of SSDs in the enterprise, we’ve been working hard to ensure that we’re well positioned to meet the growing NAND demand. And now, with tablet computing coming on strong, the continued strides we’re making in NAND has an even greater impact in the end product designs. Increasing storage (NAND) capacity is one area we’ve focused on.
A key example of this is the milestone we reached this summer by adding three-bits-per cell of NAND storage on our 25-nanometer NAND process. This provides 8GBs of NAND storage on a single device – that’s smaller than your keyboard key - and opens up an even broader range of possibilities for flash memory design. We’re continuing to push the envelope and we’ll be talking about new memory breakthroughs in the months to come, so stay tuned. Whether it’s for today’s emerging tablet market or tomorrow’s “next big thing,” NAND flash will be an essential ingredient in the world’s most popular gadgets.
About Our Blogger
Kevin is Micron Technology's Director of NAND Marketing.