Global revenue for mobile DRAM hit $2.07 billion during the first three months of this year, up 10% from $1.88 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010. IHS noted that the sequential increase of $190 million between Q4 and Q1 was equivalent to almost the entire mobile DRAM market in the first quarter of 2009. Q1 2011 revenue was up 150% over Q1 2010.
“As mobile devices consume more memory to carry out an ever-expanding range of highly sophisticated tasks, shipments of mobile DRAM likewise are set for outstanding growth,” said Ryan Chien, researcher for memory and storage at IHS. “Unit shipments and densities for mobile DRAM will increase sharply during the coming years."
Chien forecasts smartphone DRAM densities to grow by a factor of six between 2010 and 2015. However, while only 43% of handsets in 2010 used DRAM and there is an enormous opportunity still available, IHS believes that tablets will be a major source for mobile DRAM growth. "Given the expected proliferation of 8 Gb and 16 Gb chips during the next few years, mobile DRAM densities will rise by a factor of almost 14 for tablet devices," the firm said. "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."
Samsung was the top mobile DRAM manufacturer in the first quarter with revenue of $1.13 billion, followed by Elpida with $434 million and by Hynix with $391 million.