Memory Market Explodes

Memory Market Explodes


How much more growth can be reasonably expected in the memory market moving forward? Well, according to those in the know-how about 32GB flash drives and home PCs with a terabyte of storage within the 3.5-inch hard disk drives inside them, with 750GB drives available by year’s end. According to a recent report released by IDC, the hard drive industry hit a record $27.9 billion in worldwide sales in 2005, and the research firm predicts record shipments will continue annually, possibly to $41.5 billion in 2010. Flash industry sales are expected to hit $18.7 billion in 2010, up from a record $10.6 billion in 2005.

The next logical question is, how are hard drive and flash memory makers able to continue to stretch capacities so rapidly? According to computer market analyst Rich Campbell, it’s all about positioning…as in stacking the bits of information needed to increase capacity in different, space saving ways. “For flash memory makers this means squeezing more data onto cells in silicon chips as well as looking at different ways to stack layers of cells on the chips,” Campbell explained. “On the hard drive side of the fence they have come up with a new method of positioning the bits of data, switching to a perpendicular recording method. They are flipping the bits of information to stand vertically rather than horizontally, thus hard drive capacities continue to expand.”

While capacities continued to expand, prices in this market continue to shrink. As we reported in last month’s issue of Picture Business, a 1GB SD memory card can be had for around $20. Amazing standing by itself, but when you realize that a 256MB card cost a couple of hundred dollars three or four years ago you realize just how dramatic the pricing free-fall has become.