Smartphones boom make mobiles biggest user of flash memory

Solid State Drives and Flash memory cards trail behind

The boom in smartphone sales will make cellphones the biggest user of flash memory this year, according to a market brief from analyst IHS.

Cellphones will jump to the flash lead spot with a 24.6 per cent share of global bit shipments, up from second place in 2012 with 23.3 per cent, said IHS.

"With smartphones accounting for an ever- increasing portion of the global cellphone business, the mobile handset market is demanding more and more flash memory," said IHS analyst Ryan Chien. "This is causing the cellphone business to eclipse all other application markets for flash usage."

The total flash memory market is expected to rise to $US22 billion this year, up from $US20 billion last year. Revenue in 2012 had contracted after industry takings of $21 billion in 2011.

Last year's market leader, flash storage cards, will tumble to third place with a 19.7 per cent share of flash consumption in 2013. Sitting between handsets and flash storage cards will be solid state drives (SSD), ranked the number two flash platform consumer this year with 20.6 per cent, up two spots from 2012.

Other platforms in 2013 with prominent market share in flash consumption include number four ranked USB flash drives, tablet PCs in fifth place, and MP3 players in sixth.

Together, the top six devices will account for a 93.2 per cent market share of projected flash memory usage this year.

The remaining share will be split among 10 products, including personal navigation devices, video camcorders, handheld game players and digital set-top boxes.

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Antony Savvas

Computerworld UK
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