Analyst: Mobile-phone memory set to explode

April 12, 2006 – Average embedded memory density in mobile phones will increase by a factor of more than 40x from 2005-2010, due to the need for more storage accompanying new utility and entertainment features, according to iSuppli Corp.

Embedded memory content in an average mobile phone will grow to 1662MB by 2010, a whopping 4272% increase from just 38MB in 2005, according to Mark DeVoss, senior analyst for flash, SRAM, and MCP. That number includes all the memory used in mobile phones — NAND and NOR flash, pseudo SRAM, and low-power mobile DRAM — and embedded in the phone chassis at the time of manufacturing, e.g., not removable cards sometimes used with wireless handsets.

As memory densities increase, the average cost for memory in a mobile phone will go down, the analyst firm predicts — from $0.20/MB in 2005 to $0.009 in 2010, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 46%. However, dollar amounts spent on memory in an average mobile phone are seen increasing at a 15% CAGR from $7.43 in 2005 to $14.88 in 2010, but the doubling in memory costs is expected to be offset by higher revenues/user taking advantage of extra phone features.

iSuppli noted that the majority of bit growth will be for storing data from multiple features and applications, but there is still growth opportunities for memory to store and execute software code to support new communications and entertainment/utility functions. High memory bit growth eventually will bring down today’s typical high-end features to more modest low-end phones.

“The need to constantly reduce cost/bit and to increase density almost annually is a dynamic that is not expected to change in the industry in the near future,” according to the iSuppli report.


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