A wide-ranging market, the embedded NOR flash memory segment includes all electronic products with the exception of cell phones. And in contrast to the dwindling sales of NOR for cell phones, the embedded NOR market is on a steady path of expansion.
Shipments of NOR memory chips for embedded applications in 2011 are set to rise to 3.96 billion units, up from 3.64 billion units in 2010. Stable growth of 7 to 9 percent every year is predicted for the next four years, with embedded NOR shipments climbing in 2015 to 5.41 billion units.
While the vast majority of embedded NOR shipments during the coming years will go to hard disk drives (HDDs) and PCs, tablets and e-book readers represent the fastest-growing sales opportunity for these flash memory devices.
“The use of NOR flash memory in tablets and e-book readers now may represent a mere drop in the bucket compared to total embedded NOR demand,” said Ryan Chien, researcher for memory and storage at IHS. “However, shipments for NOR for tablets and e-book readers are growing exponentially. In fact, the combined category for tablets and e-book readers will generate the highest sales growth for embedded NOR of any product in 2011 and the following years.”
Tablets like the iPad, and e-book readers like the Kindle from Amazon and the Nook from Barnes & Noble, this year will consume 80 million NOR chips, up a whopping 196 percent from 27 million units in 2010.
Of the 20 embedded NOR product categories tracked by IHS, tablets and e-readers as a category will boast the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the period from 2010 to 2015, topping out at 53 percent, compared to an average of 8 percent for the embedded NOR market as a whole. In comparison, the second fastest-growing embedded NOR segment during the period will be Bluetooth, with a five-year CAGR of 16 percent. Tied for third will be automotive and gaming, at 10 percent apiece.
Hard Drives and Computers Dominate Market in 2011
The largest segments in 2011 for embedded NOR will be HDDs and PCs. HDDs, with anticipated shipments this year of 526 million units, will account for 13 percent of the embedded NOR market. The PC sector, with shipments of 383 million units, will make up 10 percent.
Other large embedded NOR segments in 2011 include optical disk drives, with 333 million units or 8 percent share; networking, with 277 million units or 7 percent share; and TVs, with 245 million units or 6 percent share.