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VLSI raises IC growth forecast to 8.9%

Posted: 07 Mar 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DRAM? LCD panels? CMOS sensors?

Forecast mania
''SanDisk believes that 20C25 percent of the notebook market will eventually be cannibalized by tablets,'' said Hans Mosesmann, an analyst with Raymond James & Associates Inc.

The outlook is bright for NAND. ''Smartphone NAND content is expected to move from 8GB to 20GB by 2014. In tablets the move is from 31GB to 96GB,'' he said.

''SSDs are expected to be a bigger factor as HDD replacement becomes less important relative to 'small form factor' NAND (MacBook Air-like products). Look for SSDs to be highly price elastic, particularly in 2012 as units increase to ~30 million units (130GB content) from less than 10 million units (90GB content) seen in 2010,'' he said.

''Interestingly, SanDisk sees the 128GB SSD price 'delta', vs. a typical HDD (1TB size), to close into the $50 range from last year's ~$200 delta. Notebook OEMs at the $50 price delta will move aggressively to SSD solutions and hence SanDisk believes 2012 will see an inflection point for SSD adoption, a dynamic we believe is tough to argue against,'' he said.

Rising sales of tablet devices coming at the expense of conventional netbook PCs will contribute to a low single-digit decline in shipments of HDDs for the first quarter of this year, according to IHS iSuppli.

HDD shipments in the first quarter of 2011 are anticipated to reach 160.9 million units, down 3.9 percent from 167.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.

"Tablets like Apple Inc.'s iPad represent a major threat to HDD demand," said Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at IHS, in a report. "Among the various computing segments in which HDDs are used, the netbookwith lower computing capabilities than either a desktop or laptopis considered the most vulnerable to being supplanted by tablets, which do not use hard disks as storage media. And as tablet adoption gains momentum, netbooks will suffer even greater declines."

More forecasts
There are other mixed signals in the market. Pricing for large-sized LCD panels ''are continuing to decline in February in light of soft demand and rising inventories, but the situation could improve by April when brands increase their TV panel purchasing,'' according to IHS iSuppli Research.

Prices of large-sized LCD panels, defined as those ranging from 10 inches to 55 inches in the diagonal dimension, are projected to fall 1.2 percent on average across the product's three main applications of televisions, monitors and notebooks.

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