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Media Tablets and e-Readers Will Help Drive Embedded NOR Flash Growth

Hard disk drives, media tablets, and e-readers will boost demand for embedded NOR flash memory over the next four years.
Shipments of NOR memory chips for embedded applications in 2011 will rise six percent to 3.96 billion units, up from 3.64 billion units in 2010, according to researcher IHS iSuppli.

Driven by demand from hard disk drives, iPads, and e-readers, embedded NOR shipments will grow seven to nine percent each year for the next four years. In 2015, embedded NOR shipments will reach 5.41 billion units, according to IHS iSuppli.

Media tablets and e-readers represent the fastest-growing sales opportunity for embedded NOR flash.

The use of NOR flash memory in tablets and e-book readers is a "drop in the bucket" compared to total embedded NOR demand," said Ryan Chien, researcher for memory and storage at IHS iSuppli. "However, shipments for NOR for tablets and e-book readers are growing exponentially."

Tablets and e-book readers will combine to generate the highest sales growth for embedded NOR of any product in 2011 and beyond, Chien noted.

Tablets, such the iPad, and e-readers, such as the Kindle and Nook, will consume 80 million NOR chips this year, up a whopping 196 percent from 27 million units in 2010, according to IHS iSuppli.

Of the 20 embedded NOR product categories tracked by IHS, tablets and e-readers will boast the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the period from 2010 to 2015, topping out at 53 percent.

The second fastest-growing embedded NOR segment during this period will be Bluetooth, with a five-year CAGR of 16 percent. Tied for third will be automotive and gaming, at 10 percent each, IHS iSuppli reported.

However, 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, according to IHS iSuppli.