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The storage debate between NAND flash memory and hard disk drives (HDDs) for the portable consumer electronics market will continue and likely increase with price disparity decreasing over the next four years, reported IDC research firm in a recent analysis. While the battle will heat up, there will be no clear winner, according to the company.

“We do not expect a ‘winner takes all’ outcome by 2008 as both storage technologies will advance through technology transitions to provide higher capacity products and focus on their respective strengths,” said John Rydning, research manager with IDC’s Storage Mechanisms: Disk Program.

NAND memory average selling price is expected to decrease at a 43% compound annual growth rate from 2004 to 2009. However, price per GB is not the sole decision criteria. Factors such as total capacity requirements, form-factor, power consumption, weight, durability, data rates, as well as strategic OEM and storage supplier alliances, weigh heavily into storage technology criterion.

“Instead of viewing each storage technology as a threat, flash and HDD vendors should approach this development as an opportunity to form alliances to broaden and extend their portfolio,” added Celeste Crystal, senior analyst, Semiconductors research at IDC.

IDC’s analysis titled “Insight, A Hard Choice That Won't be Made in a Flash: HDD Versus NAND” provides an analysis of two storage technologies vying for similar embedded storage opportunities in portable digital devices. The focus is on technology advancements, price parity, and the competitive landscape, as well as trends in leading application markets. This Insight forecasts price per GB for both NAND flash memory, and 1” and smaller HDD, and explores the likely impact that price and other attributes will have on the choice of each embedded storage technology in portable digital devices through 2009.

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