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Shortages seen for NAND flash, says analysts

Posted: 21 Apr 2006     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Mark LaPedus 

The worst appears to be over for the NAND flash memory market. After experiencing severe price declines and a capacity glut, suppliers of NAND-based flash memories are expected to see the first wave of product shortages in the current quarter, according to an analyst.

Amid sudden and falling demand in the MP3 player market and other factors, spot prices for NAND-based flash memories have tumbled and fallen by more than 50 per cent since the beginning of this year, according to the DRAMeXchange, a memory clearing house.

Despite it all, industry analysts have predicted a possible recovery in the NAND flash market in the second half of 2006. Now, it appears that product demand is picking up, while pricing has stabilised.

"Samsung's expectations that it will be in shortage mode in Q2 2006 and that there will be no pricing declines in Q3 2006 bode very well for the NAND industry," said Satya Chillara, an analyst with American Technology Research Inc., in a report.

The comments were made in reference to Samsung's Q1 results, in which the company's NAND flash bit growth jumped 17 per cent but average selling prices were down 25 per cent.

The market is also expected to remain robust, prompting companies to expand their efforts in the arena. As reported, Toshiba and SanDisk confirmed plans to build another 300mm NAND flash wafer fab, known as Fab 4, at Yokkaichi, but the plant will be constructed and ramped faster than had been previously reported.

Seeking to make another big splash in the marketplace, the NAND flash-memory venture between Intel and Micron Technology is quietly readying a new line of devices based on multi-level cell technology. The venture is called IM Flash Technologies LLC.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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