Mobile DRAM is developing into an increasingly bright spot in the troubled memory industry.
According to IHS, mobile DRAM is set to hit a record $6.56 billion in revenue this year, up 10 percent from $5.98 billion in 2011. Traditional DRAM will only gain about 3 percent, the market research firm said.
The reason for the increase is based on the popularity of smartphones and media tablets. "The mobile DRAM segment is achieving impressive growth as mobile operating systems, streaming apps and games require more memory to handle sophisticated tasks," said Ryan Chien, analyst for memory & storage at IHS. "Crucial features like multitasking, media decoding and decompression, data synchronization and background operations are all driving DRAM needs—and new phones and tablets are meeting those needs with their rise in mobile DRAM densities."
According to IHS, mobile DRAM Density increased from 2.28 gigabits (Gb) in the second quarter of 2010 to 5.85 Gb in the second quarter of 2011. In tablets alone, the density jumped from 2.00 Gb to 8.33 Gb in the same time frame. the climbing importance of mobile DRAM may be good news if it can acquire bankrupt memory maker Elpida. According to IHS the mobile DRAM revenue of Elpida at $218 million was more than twice the mobile DRAM sales of $106 million for Micron.
"Such a disparity between the acquired and the buyer highlights a competitive differentiator for Elpida," Chien said. "Despite its financial ruin, Elpida in the first quarter had an outsized portion—nearly 20 percent market share—of the total mobile DRAM industry revenue of $1.8 billion."