Flash Memory to Overtake HDDs
The portable media player market, currently dominated by hard disk drives, is expecting a changing of the guard. iSuppli Corp. is forecasting a large jump in the number of Flash units being shipped. From 2006 to 2007 shipments of Flash storage units is expected to increase from a mere 5.9 million to a whopping 54.8, with this number continuing up steadily until 2011. According to this data the year 2007 will mark the end of HDD’s control of the PMP market with iSuppli’s estimate for HDD shipments falling below the number of Flash units shipped for the first time. From then on the projected shipment total for Flash units in 2011 is expected to top 150.2 million, 25.5 times the amount from 2006, as the HDD shipments will only rise from 20.6 million in 2006 to 35.3 million in 2011.
“Flash costs are nearing a point where makers of MP3 music players can add enough capacity to support video content, which requires significantly more storage than audio,” said Chris Crotty, iSuppli’s senior analyst of consumer electronics, whom also points out that, from 2005 to 2010, the cost of Flash memory should decline by 47.1 percent per year.
Despite this annual decrease in the price of Flash memory, it is still more expensive than the HDD counterpart and is expected by iSuppli to be so in the future as well. Flash costs more per megabyte, but it allows the PMP longer battery life, smaller size, and a wider variety of capacities due to Flash’s more flexible form factors. With the less expensive HDD, the PMP will have a shorter battery life, cost less, and will be larger in size. Also, PMPs equipped with HDDs have a more rigid form factor and are more susceptible to mechanical failure.