Feature Article

August 08, 2012

Mobile DRAM Market Set to Reach a Record $6.5 Billion in 2012

With rapid increase in sales of smartphones and media tablets around the world, mobile DRAM market is accordingly poised for growth. According to market research firm IHS iSuppli’s latest report, mobile DRAM is set to reach a record $6.56 billion in revenues this year, up 10 percent from $5.98 billion in 2011.

By comparison,as per  the IHS report, the standard DRAM market revenue grew only three percent. Besides increase in revenues, the dissections conducted by IHS' teardown analysis service also confirm a remarkable rise in average densities of mobile DRAMs in wireless devices.

“The mobile DRAM segment is achieving impressive growth as mobile operating systems, streaming apps and games require more memory to handle sophisticated tasks,” said Ryan Chien, analyst for memory and storage at IHS. “Crucial features like multitasking, media decoding and decompression, data synchronization and background operations are all driving DRAM needs - and new phones and tablets are meeting those needs with their rise in mobile DRAM densities.”

The IHS report indicates that mobile DRAM density in smartphones has jumped from 2.28 gigabits (Gb) in the second quarter of 2010 to 5.85 Gb in the second quarter of 2012. The expansion is even greater in tablets, with the mobile DRAM average density soaring fourfold during the same period from 2.00 Gb to 8.33 Gb.

This significant improvement in the use of mobile DRAMs is in marked contrast to the performance of the other memory segments, including standard DRAM used in desktop and notebook computers. Owing to the lagging sales of PC computing behind handsets and tablets, revenue growth for standard DRAM in 2012 is anticipated to be weak, said IHS.

The recent acquisition of Elpida Memory by Micron is a clear indicator of the importance of mobile DRAM in the mobile business. While both companies earned similar DRAM revenues in the first quarter of 2012 - $759 million for Micron and $780 million for Elpida - the mobile DRAM revenue for Elpida was almost twice that of Micron. The report shows Elpida at $218 million and Micron at 106 million.

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Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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