SAN FRANCISCO—The use of NAND flash memory in tablet computers such as Apple Inc.'s iPad is expected to triple from 2010 to 2011, reaching 1.7 billion gigabytes, according to market research firm iSuppli Corp.
Total NAND shipments for tablets is projected to grow 296 percent next year from 428 million gigabytes in 2010, according to iSuppli (El Segundo, Calif.). Shipment's will continue to climb steadily for the next few years, hitting 8.8 billion gigabytes by 2014, according to iSuppli's forecast.
"Tablets have stolen some cachet from netbooks," said Michael Yang, senior analyst for memory and storage at iSuppli, in a statement. "And while the tablet segment suffers from some of the same weaknesses as netbooks, devices like the iPad have wowed consumers with their responsiveness and media interaction—due in part to the use of NAND flash for data storage, instead of a traditional hard disk drive."
More tablet products are expected to hit stores in advance of the holiday season, iSuppli noted. The new devices, to be based on the Android or Chrome operating systems from Google Inc., could enable affordability because of increased product selection and apps innovation, iSuppli said.
The surge in tablet shipments means that the amount of NAND required will quickly become sizable, according to iSuppli's memory forecasts. And as more consumers switch from netbooks to tablets, NAND demand is expected to keep rising, iSuppli said.
With the iPad leading the way, tablets will facilitate a new usage model that incorporates newer ways of experiencing media and the Internet, spurring rising NAND usage in each tablet, iSuppli said Average density of NAND flash for tablets will reach 28 gigabytes in 2010, iSuppli said, rising to 65 gigabytes on average in 2014.
This one is a real no-brainer. Solid-state makes too much sense to not use it in tablet form factors. The real question is whether they will take the opportunity to redefine the file systems to take better advantage of it instead of pretending that it is actually spinning media. It wouldn't surprise me if that is one of the things that Google is baking into their "real" tablet OS (as opposed to Android).
The average density numbers here are the really interesting ones. It is not surprising that the use of NAND flash is expected to increase since the number of tablets are expected to increase dramatically from several suppliers. But when that is combined with the expected rapid increase in the amount of NAND flash to be used in each tablet it leads to a projected very rapid increase overall indeed. It will be interesting to see if the projections are overly conservative or are too ambitious.
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