NAND flash memory makers will see a gigantic boost in demand in 2011 as the emerging tablet market takes off, iSuppli says. The market research firm predicts tablet consumption of NAND flash is set to explode more than 380 percent in the 2011, increasing from 476.8 million GB in 2010 and eventually climbing to 12.3 billion GB by 2014. Moreover, the proportion of NAND flash use among tablets versus the total supply of NAND memory will go up by 11.8 percent in 2011, nearly a threefold increase from 4.3 percent last year.
"The bump in NAND consumption among tablets is likely to come from devices such as Apple Inc.’s iPad as well as a raft of tablet devices powered by the rival Android operating system, expected to hit the market this year," said Dee Nguyen, analyst for memory and storage at IHS. "Together, the iPad and Android-based tablets form one strand of the tablet experience offered by manufacturers—one centering on Internet-based media consumption. For such tablets, internal storage capacity is less an issue because the devices are intended to provide entertainment, not a full PC computing experience."
Optimistic as this may sound, not all NAND flash makers are jumping for joy just yet. Transcend Information chairman Peter Shu said he's unsure what kind of NAND prices the second half of 2011 will bring. While Shu acknowledges that smartphones and tablets will drive demand, he also notes that some chip makers, like Samsung, are ready to ramp up new capacity, which could push prices down, according to a report in DigiTimes.