Cheap Smartphones and Cloud Services to Impede Mobile Storage Growth
The differences among smartphone brands will grow increasingly less noticeable as mobile component parts and hardware specs become standardized, according to a report from DRAMeXchange.
The major global smartphone brands will be expected to shift a good portion of their focus towards the low-to-mid ranged smartphone devices following the eventual saturation of the high end market; The Chinese brands, meanwhile, are likely to see their market influence and shipment numbers grow, and are therefore anticipated to enjoy increased visibility.
At the moment, TrendForce projects that the proportion of the market represented by low-to-mid end smartphones will expand from 50% this year to above 70% in 2014. The shipment proportion of the low-end tablet devices, on the other hand, is expected to rise to over 65%. Given the concerns associated with manufacturing cost and rising cloud usage rate, mobile density growth is currently perceived to be the one area where the impact of the aforementioned developments will be the most noticeable.
In an effort to protect overall profits as well as to stabilize price, various NAND Flash manufacturers have decided against employing any form of aggressive pricing strategies this year. Because of this, the NAND Flash prices, along with those of embedded products, have remained relatively steady compared to the previous periods. As a response to the generally stable pricing trend, an increasing number of manufacturers are opting to lower total eMMC density in order to effectively control and manage cost. This has notably led to the decreased capacities in some of the smartphone devices that are released from global branded manufacturers.
The capacities of the low end tablets, it is worth noting, have similarly gone down, dropping from 16GB to 8GB. In 2014, TrendForce predicts that the average content per box for the eMMCs used in smartphones will rise by 9-10% and reach 13GB. For tablets (not including those released from the white-box manufacturers), the average content per box is only expected to be16.3GB.
Along with mobile devices, cloud storage systems are currently experiencing a steady rise in demand. Not only is the growing interest in cloud services impacting the average content per box for embedded products, it is also increasing the pressure for manufacturers that produce UFDs, memory cards, and various other external memory devices.
TrendForce predicts that cloud storage services -- like Dropbox and Google Drive -- and web-based multimedia will all undergo enhancements as the internet infrastructure improves. Following the necessary developments, the needs associated with physical personal storages are expected to decline on a gradual basis.
Looking at the market strategies and the growing popularity of cloud, TrendForce believes it is unlikely that the growing demand for low-to-mid end mobile devices will help increase average storage capacity.