LONDON – The average selling price (ASP) of NAND flash memory is set to decline 35 percent in 2011, compared with 2010, but tremendous bit growth will result in NAND flash memory sales revenue growing 16 percent to reach $21.5 billion, according to DRAMexchange, the research department of Trendforce Corp.
The manufacturing process technologies for NAND flash are set to migrate from the 4X- and 3X-nm in 2010 to 3X- and 2X-nm in 2011 and DRAMexchange expects the worldwide NAND flash bit supply to grow 78.3 percent to 9,326 million 16-Gbit equivalents in 2011. from 5,232 million 16-Gbit equivalents in 2010.
Tablet computers and smartphones are the two main drivers of NAND flash demand with 2010 tablet shipments expected to reach 15 million units and 2011 shipments forecast at 50 million units. Smartphones are expected to represent 25 percent of mobile handset market in 2011.
The NAND flash demand bit growth is estimated to grow 76.5 percent to 5,150.2 million 16-Gbit equivalents in 2010. Given the steadily rebounding global economy and surging smartphone and tablet PC growth, the NAND flash demand bit growth should increase 80.2 percent to 9,283 million 16-Gbit equivalent devices in 2011, DRAMexchange said.
A significant factor is cost. NAND is about 20x more expensive than conventional HDDs. NAND certainly is capable of the right level of performance, but could only be deployed for "Hot I/Os". However, actually managing a subsystem with flash-based and HDD storage is difficult. A number of enterprise solutions exists that help on this, and they are gradually getting traction. But, for the foreseeable future HDDs will likely dominate in GBs installed.
And not all SSDs and flash-based solutions are the same, which can impact their success also.
@Peter Clarke: If tablet computers and smartphones are the two main drivers, how about SSD's in other markets like enterprise & data center storage? It would seem that the pricing NAND pressure created by consumer appliances like tablets would also make solid state storage devices attractive for these B2B markets for NAND flash. Any thoughts?
Dr. MP Divakar
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