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Tablets push DRAM demand

Posted: 14 Jun 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:tablet? DRAM? market?

The boom in media tablets is expected to lead to growing demand for DRAM in the following years, much more so if bookseller Amazon comes up with its own tablet to compete with the iPad. This is according to market research firm IHS iSuppli.

Published reports speculate that Amazon is preparing to launch its own Android-based tablet, though there is wide disparity over when that might actually happen.

IHS' new market report predicts that DRAM demand for media tablets will rise by a factor of nine in 2011 compared to 2010, thanks to booming iPad sales and the arrival of competing products.

Tablets will consume 333.7 million gigabits of DRAM this year, up from 37.3 million gigabits in 2010, according to IHS. DRAM demand from tablets is expected to rise to 1.1 billion gigabits in 2012 and continue to climb by leaps and bounds during the next four years, reaching 5.8 billion gigabits by 2015, according to the firm. Tablet shipments this year are projected to reach 63.2 million units, up from 17.5 million in 2010, and will hit 113.9 million units next year, according to IHS.

"Because of their soaring shipments, tablets are gaining increasing prominence in the DRAM market," said Mike Howard, principal analyst for DRAM and memory at IHS. "The iPad, which has single-handedly dominated the tablet business since its introduction last year, will account for the bulk of the DRAM demand in the market in 2011 and the following years. However, competition to the iPad is seeping into the market, driving further DRAM demand," he added.

In a separate report, IHS said the market for embedded NOR flash memory is expected to grow 8 percent in 2011, thanks to demand from devices like Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle e-reader. Shipments of NOR memory chips for embedded applications in 2011 are set to rise to 3.96 billion units, up from 3.64 billion units in 2010, IHS said. The firm projects stable growth for embedded NOR of 7 to 9 percent each year for the next five years, with embedded NOR shipments climbing to 5.41 billion units in 2015.

DRAM demand

Competitors to the iPad that are now available include the Galaxy Tab from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, the Xoom from Motorola Mobility Inc., the PlayBook from Research In Motion Ltd. and the TouchPad from Hewlett-Packard Co. HIS noted that none of these entrants have seriously endangered the dominance of the iPad. A new competitive tablet device from Amazon could represent the most serious challenge yet for the iPad, potentially driving even more DRAM demand, IHS said.

"Unofficial reports of a new tablet device being readied by Amazon to go head to head with the iPad bodes nothing but good news for the dynamic random access memory market," Howard says.

IHS maintains that Amazon's aptitude for delivering a satisfactory customer experience is well-known, and the firm's analysts believe that an Amazon tablet would compete on user experiencenot necessarily on hardware specs. But, while Amazon has built an e-commerce empire to be envied and succeeded in bringing the popular Kindle e-reader to market, there is no guarantee that an Android-based tablet would necessarily offer a better overall user experience than other Android-based tablets.

With DRAM content in the Amazon tablet expected to be robustestimated to be 4 gigabits per device, similar to the iPad 2tablet DRAM demand is likely to remain a bright spot for the memory industry in the years ahead, according to IHS.

- Dylan McGrath
??EE Times

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