Saifun – Is it the little flash company that could? NASDAQ: SFUN 26.88
Do you think the market for smart phones, digital audio (MP3) players, consumer solid state drives (SSDs), portable media players, digital video cameras, GPS devices, multimedia and music handsets, memory cards and USB flash drives are growing? All these products provided a disruptive position taking away market share from their predecessors.
One market segment that could see even stronger growth than these separate products we mentioned, and include other growth products, is the flash memory market. Flash is a root component used in all the above products and more.
Based on history we are forecasting that flash is the memory medium of choice for a plethora of devices in the consumer electronics in wireless devices and that flash will grow faster than the wireless devise market. It appears that in the past, memory for computing devices has grown faster than the device that utilizes the memory. Memory of the Personal Computer (PC) and the Internet has grown faster than their supporting platform. With the PC creating tremendous growth and history as our guide the demand for both memory and disc drives for the personal computer was often the impetus of many upgrade cycles. The Internet with the many millions of new web pages created a tremendous growth in storage. I’ve seen in many reports that forecasted storage of the internet has been one of the fastest growing subsets of the internet as a whole.
With a decrease in price per gigabyte (GB) of more than 80 percent over the past three years and with the high growth in wireless data the need for new and addition memory could exceed the growth of the hardware device market that uses flash for its memory. The current market in flash memory is about $25 billion annually and its forecast is about 40 billion by 2010.
With each new product cycle the advantages of flash have become more disruptive allowing it to become about 30-40% cheaper every year. Many experts are forecasting this disruptive curve to replace the disc drive market for PC’s. Flash has already replaced hard drives in most MP3 players.
Currently the flash memory is designed to support two types of flash memory. One type of memory supports your machines internal usage or operating system, the other type is for more external storage needs. The internal memory often uses the architecture of NOR, which has been established for years and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) considered by many as the market leader. The NOR technology is a more complex technology and is starting to see the market mature.
Often you will find both NOR and NAND in the same mobile device.
The much faster growing market is for external memory market needs or NAND and the one of the leaders is SanDisk. SanDisk Corp. (NASDAQ: SNDK), founded and managed by president and CEO Dr. Eli Harari. SanDisk and Toshiba jointly launched the multi-level cell (MLC). This technology made it possible to divide the cell and store two bits of data on the same piece of silicon (x2, as it were), which significantly improved the profitability of manufacturers and fabs, basically doubling the price performance curve.