It probably comes as no surprise to most people that cellular handsets are expected to consume more NAND flash than any other single product category in 2013. The surprising thing, really, is that this year will mark the first in which that is the case.
By now, cellphones are ubiquitous, of course. But it’s really the rise of the smartphone--and its increasing NAND content--that is giving the NAND market a much-needed shot in the arm, according to IHS iSuppli. The firm projects that the NAND market will grow about 10 percent this year after contracting about 5 percent last year.
Cellphones are set to become the world’s single largest consumer of flash memory in 2013, accounting for 24.6 percent of all global bit shipments, IHS said. In 2012, cellphones were the second largest consumer of flash, accounting for 23.3 percent, according to the firm.
"With smartphones accounting for an ever-increasing portion of the global cellphone business, the mobile handset market is demanding more and more memory—particularly flash," said Ryan Chien, analyst for memory and storage at IHS, in a statement. "This is causing the cellphone business to eclipse all other application markets for flash usage. Indeed, the shift in flash demand is reflective of a widespread transition in technology markets to focus more on mobile platforms like smartphones."
According to another market research firm, International Data Corp. (IDC), cellphone OEMs shipped a record 712.6 million smartphones in 2012, accounting for more than 45 percent of total handset shipments.