In early October the microelectronics standardization body JEDEC held a series of seminars about the prospects of the flash memory market in general and of solid state drives in particular. Flash memory means much more to computer users than memory cards or USB drives. SSDs are not only trendy but also practical. The global economic recession has delayed the arrival of inexpensive flash-based storage devices but specialists do expect them very soon. How soon, exactly? Let's hear what the involved people, the developers of standards, technologies and end products, have to say about that.
In this article we will present the main facts extracted from the keynotes delivered at a JEDEC seminar to show you the big picture of the development of flash memory and its use in solid state drives.
One thing that we must keep in mind is that computers are not the most important application of nonvolatile memory. Flash-based storage devices in all their varieties are actually among the least popular products that use such memory, being only ahead of the car industry in this respect. Thus, the market in general cannot be affected much by how popular SSDs are or will be.
According to the chart built by Gartner’s analysts and the marketing folks from Phison, a leader in NAND flash production, the main driving force of the flash memory market is digital cameras (i.e. memory cards for them), MP3 players, USB drives, camcorders and mobile phones.
This situation is not expected to change in the next few years while the average annual growth in terms of memory amount will be about 100%. In other words, the amount of the world’s flash memory will be doubling each year from 2010 onwards. Sounds impressive.