Revenues likely to hit $6.9bn this year
Revenue in the first quarter for mobile dynamic random access memory (DRAM) exceeded $2bn for the first time on a quarterly basis, according to a new Mobile & Embedded Memory Market Brief from information and analysis provider IHS.
Global revenue for mobile DRAM hit $2.07bn during the first three months of this year, up 10% from $1.88bn in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Mobile DRAM is the DRAM variant currently preferred for use in mobile applications, including a variety of consumer electronics devices such as smartphones, handheld gaming devices and tablets.
The mobile DRAM market will have strong sales momentum for years to come, IHS forecasts, with revenue this year likely to hit $6.9bn.
Further, unit shipments and densities for mobile DRAM will increase sharply during the coming years, where smartphone mobile DRAM density is anticipated to grow by nearly a factor of six between 2010 and 2015, while density in handsets overall will increase eightfold.
Due to the expected proliferation of 8Gb and 16Gb chips during the next few years, mobile DRAM densities will rise by a factor of almost 14 for tablet devices.
Unit shipments of mobile DRAM also can be expected to grow, given that tablet shipments are projected to multiply 15 times between 2010 and 2015.
In the handheld gaming market, mobile DRAM usage will rise during the coming years, and Sony’s forthcoming PSP Vita handheld likely will have memory content of 256 megabytes, similar to that of its non-handheld PlayStation 3 gaming console.
The remarkable outlook for mobile DRAM has prompted a number of companies to enter the market during the last five quarters, including Taiwanese firms Winbond Electronics and ProMOS.
However, newcomers will find it hard to challenge the incumbent leaders like South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor, as well as Japan’s Elpida Memory, since all three comprise occupy about 95% of mobile DRAM shipments and revenue.
Samsung was the top mobile DRAM manufacturer in the first quarter with revenue of $1.13bn, followed by Elpida with $434m and by Hynix with $391m.