Mobile DRAM estimated to grow at 10% in 2012
IHS iSuppli estimates Mobile DRAM to reach $6.56 billion in revenue in year 2012, up 10 percent from $5.98 billion in 2011, where as standard DRAM is estimated to grow at 3 percent in 2012.
“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 & 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.”
Further analysis reported by IHS iSuppli includes:
Mobile DRAM density in smartphones, for instance, jumped from 2.28 gigabits (Gb) in the second quarter of 2010 to 5.85 Gb in the second quarter this year. 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, as shown in the figure below.
The importance of mobile DRAM is also clear in the acquisition in July by U.S. memory maker Micron of Elpida, its insolvent Japanese rival. While both companies earned similar DRAM revenue in the first quarter this year—$759 million for Micron and $780 for Elpida—the mobile DRAM revenue of Elpida at $218 million was double that the $106 million for Micron.
“Such a disparity between the acquired and the buyer highlights a competitive differentiator for Elpida, Chien said. “Despite its financial ruin, Elpida in the first quarter had an outsized portion—nearly 20 percent market share—of the total mobile DRAM industry revenue of $1.8 billion. The increasing ubiquity of mobile DRAM projected for the next few years also makes the high-flying memory segment the most important factor in Micron’s $2.5 billion purchase, especially as the Boise, Idaho, outfit aims to counter the current market dominance of the South Korean giants Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix Semiconductor.”