NAND revenues to rocket with Ultrabook boom

NAND flash revenue is set to grow as ultrathin laptops push sales of solid state drives, with Intel expecting to ship up to 30 million units this year.

While tablets and smartphones have buoyed NAND flash sales in the past, it is thought that the popularity of SSDs in Intel’s Ultrabooks will further push revenues during 2012, and over the next few years.

Eight percent growth is expected this year, according to analysts at IHS, as global NAND flash revenues hit $22.9 billion, up from $21.2 billion in 2011.   

Clearly NAND flash memory is big business, with Samsung ploughing billions of dollars into factory production in China last year. Revenues are set to hit $30.9 billion in total by 2016.

This is despite of a lacklustre finish to 2011, where the industry did not quite meet expectations.  

But with 75 Ultrabook models on the way this year and with the release of Ivy Bridge imminent, there is plenty of room for optimism.

Ultrabooks almost exclusively include at least 128GB SSDs, apart from the Acer Aspire, and even the lower end versions such as the more bargain basement Novatech are foregoing hard disks.

According to sources at DigiTimes, Intel is gearing up to release a massive 20-30 million units into the channel this year.    

This is expected to double or even triple going through 2013, according to channel players, as the supply chain adapts to Ultrabook production.  

Of course, Intel is not the only chip firm looking to create super-skinny laptops.  AMD is also gearing up to launch its own ultrathins.  

With the release of Trinity, AMD is looking to try and undercut Intel by a couple of hundred dollars, which is good news for consumers and should aid mass popularity. 

According to IHS’ predictions, Ultrabooks will push PC consumption of NAND to 15 percent of total memory supply this year.  In total, SSDs will account for around 3.3 billion gigabytes of NAND flash, up from 1.7 billion last year.

Smartphones meanwhile will eventually account for 16 percent of total NAND shipments by 2016, as memory content in phones is expected to roughly double to 18.9 GB on average.

For tablets, the iPad is expected to continue to lead the way, with high popularity and a maximum of 64 GB storage.  The Kindle Fire in comparison has a max of 8GB 

While the amount of GBs in a device is relatively small, the tablet market will still account for 12 percent of all NAND flash this year.