Smartphones and tablets are the fastest growing markets in the electronics industry right now. As such, they also drive the growth of the DRAM market, which is estimated to hit $6.56 billion in revenues this year, up 10% from a year ago.
It may not sound like much, but this is great news for the DRAM makers as this market has been stagnating in the past few years, due to the declining demand for memory chips for PC's and laptops. In the meantime, mobile DRAM density has grown from 2.28Gbit to 5.85Gbit in the last two years. The expansion is higher in tablets, where it has grown to 8.33Gbit in the same period.
Ryan Chien, analyst for memory & storage at IHS, highlighted how the popularity of smartphones and tablets area boon for the semiconductor industry, particularly memory chip-makers.
The mobile DRAM segment is achieving impressive growth as mobile operating systems, streaming apps and games require more memory to handle sophisticated tasks.
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.
The standard DRAM market saw only a 3% growth over the same period, because of lagging sales of PC's and laptops. Sales for standard DRAM are expected to be even weaker this year. While the standard RAM prices have been falling fast, mobile DRAM prices have remained relatively fixed, thanks to a number of factors such as high-demand for smartphones and tablets, fewer suppliers, and healthy density growth.
Samsung is currently the dominating company in the mobile DRAM market, and it stands to gain the most from this growth. They supply mobile DRAM to Apple, and a bunch of other customers, while also serving the best NAND flash memory modules in the market. Of course, Samsung also uses its own memory chips in its Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets.
ARM chips are expanding in performance, and will soon catch-up with higher-end Intel/AMD machines, and the demand for higher performance mobile RAM should likewise keep growing.