Friday, June 10, 2011

Tablet DRAM demand explodes in 2011 as market expands beyond iPad, says IHS iSuppli

Demand for DRAM generated by tablets will rise by a factor of nine in 2011, fueled by booming sales of the iPad, combined with the arrival of more competitive alternative products, according to new IHS iSuppli research.

Tablets this year will consume 333.7 million Gb of DRAM, up from 37.3 million Gb in 2010. DRAM demand from tablets then will vault to 1.1 billion Gb in 2012 and continue to climb during the next four years, reaching 5.8 billion Gb by 2015.

Tablet shipments this year are projected to reach 63.2 million units, up from 17.5 million in 2010, and will hit 113.9 million units next year.

"Because of their soaring shipments, tablets are gaining increasing prominence in the DRAM market," said Mike Howard, principal analyst for DRAM and memory at IHS iSuppli. "The iPad, which has single-handedly dominated the tablet business since its introduction last year, will account for the bulk of the DRAM demand in the market in 2011 and the following years. However, competition to the iPad is seeping into the market, driving further DRAM demand."

iPad competitors on market now include the Galaxy Tab from Samsung Electronics, the Xoom from Motorola, the PlayBook from Research In Motion and the TouchPad from Hewlett-Packard (HP). None of these entrants have seriously endangered the hegemony of the iPad. However, a new competitive tablet device from bookselling and retail giant Amazon could represent the most serious challenge yet for the iPad, potentially driving even more DRAM demand.

"Unofficial reports of a new tablet device being readied by Amazon to go head to head with the iPad bodes nothing but good news for the DRAM market," Howard said.

Reports indicate that an Amazon store with a broad range of content, including music, digital games, movies, TV shows, books and Android apps, will be available to users of the Amazon tablet at the time of launch. This will represent serious competition to the Apple iTunes store and potentially allow the Amazon tablet to succeed where competing tablets have failed.

While no specs have yet been announced for an Amazon tablet, Amazon's aptitude for delivering a satisfactory customer experience is well-known. The Amazon tablet will compete on user experience - not necessarily on hardware specs.

With DRAM content in the Amazon tablet expected to be robust, estimated to be 4Gb per device, similar to the iPad 2, tablet DRAM demand is likely to remain a bright spot for the memory industry in the years ahead.

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