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Report: Mobile devices to lead DRAM market by 2015

June 26, 2013
Mobile platforms for cell phones, media- and PC-type tablets are on the verge of overtaking traditional computers and servers as the largest consumer of DRAM

A new report from industry analyst IHS predicts that mobile devices will consume more DRAM than traditional personal computers by 2015, marking a major industry shift and cementing the arrival of the post-PC era.

IHS’ latest DRAM Dynamics Brief reports that mobile devices will use $11.6 billion worth of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) in 2015 compared to $9.9 billion for conventional PCs. This will mark the first time ever that the mobile platforms have accounted for the majority of DRAM consumption and the first time since the 1980s that traditional PCs haven’t led in the area, IHS says.

“The fortunes of the PC and DRAM industries have been intricately intertwined for 30 years now,” Dale Ford, senior director at IHS, said in a statement announcing the findings this month. “DRAM makers have centered their technology, capacity and product strategies on the needs of their PC customers. At the same time, the performance of the DRAM business has been dependent on upturns and downturns in the PC market. But with the decline of the PC market and rise of wireless platforms, this alignment is coming to an end.”

Ford emphasizes the post-PC era as a major influence, noting that PCs are no longer the driving force in the global electronics supply chain. Similar trends are occurring in other areas, too, as PC dominance is beginning to erode in the storage, display, software and overall semiconductor markets, according to IHS.

In 2012, IHS reported that the share of traditional PCs in DRAM revenue fell to less than 50 percent for the first time in at least 30 years, marking a major milestone for the industry. Although the share of PCs in DRAM consumption fell to 41 percent in 2012—far below the 85% to 65% share seen throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s—PCs remained the largest single DRAM market. PCs will lose that distinction in 2015, when their share of sales is expected to fall to 28%. IHS says traditional PCs will account for just 22% of DRAM consumption by 2017.

Source:  IHS, Inc. June 2013

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