Smart cell phones drive NAND flash sales

El Segundo, Calif. — Global sales of NAND-type flash memory for use in smart cell phones are expected to rise by nearly sixfold from 2008 to 2013, reaching $932.5 million up from $166.5 million in 2008, according to market research company iSuppli Corp.

According to iSuppli’s NAND report, Surprising Upturn in First Half of 2009 Won’t Last Long, the market for smart phones is expanding at a much faster rate than that of the overall wireless handset segment with smart phones accounting for 26.4 percent of total cell phone unit shipments in 2013, up from 13.1 percent in 2008. The biggest growth driver: the iPhone, which has additional NAND flash memory to handle higher functionality.


“Apple announced it sold 5.2 million iPhone 3G and 3GS models during its fiscal third quarter, which ended in June,” said Michael Yang, senior analyst for mobile and emerging memories at iSuppli, in a statement. “Furthermore, Apple plans to introduce the iPhone in China, possibly early next year. This will open up the market for the iPhone to a new potential audience of 1.3 billion people.”

Yang also notes the arrival of competitive products like the Palm Pre, the BlackBerry Storm and the Google operating-system-equipped T-Mobile G1 will drive additional expansion of the smart-phone market.

The initial iPhone base model, introduced in January 2007, integrated 4Gbytes of NAND. The latest version of the iPhone, the 3GS unveiled in June, has 6 Gbytes of NAND at the low end, and 32 Gbytes at the high end, according to iSuppli.

The new iPhone killers, including the Pre, the Storm and the G1, all include 8 Gbytes of NAND, but some models are increasing their NAND density to higher levels, reports iSuppli. The market researcher predicts NAND densities in smart phones will continue to increase.

iSuppli projects the average amount of NAND flash in all mobile phones shipped worldwide will rise to 5.8 Gbytes per handset in 2013, up from less than 1Gbyte in 2008.