The global sales of memory to semiconductor device manufacturers and end users is expected to be worth nearly $79 billion in 2014, an 11.3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the 2009 value of $46.2 billion.
Mainstream memory market sectors such as DRAM will increase at a 10.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), from an estimated $25.2 billion in 2009 to $41.5 billion in 2014.
New age memory such as NAND flash was worth an estimated $12.8 billion in 2009 and is expected to increase to $25.7 in 2014, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15%.
Memory is an indispensable component of computing devices. This indispensability has unfortunately led to stagnation on technology and business fronts. Major reason for this stagnation is the extreme level of commoditization of memory: Memory function remains fairly consistent regardless of its usage. Memory is probably the most under-innovated component in the computing architecture, given the potential for innovations.
Advances in semiconductor processes have fed customer appetite for devices that are concurrently portable, cost effective, power efficient and feature rich. This hunger in turn is driving existing semiconductor fabrication techniques to the very limits of their physical abilities. The dilemma witnessed in the larger semiconductor manufacturing methodology is reflected in the memory domain as well.
Traditional memory evolution has been two tracked—volatile and nonvolatile. In practical terms, this distinction has led to complexities in design, slowing the pace of innovation. One positive result of the new-age memory technologies is that all of them are nonvolatile, thus ending an undesirable complication.
This report tracks the impressive, if somewhat unwilling, innovation path of the memory industry.
STUDY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
This study has the following goals and objectives:
- Forecasting the market size for overall mainstream memory technology chipsets in value and volume terms
- Forecasting the market size for overall new age memory technology chipsets in value and volume terms
- Breaking down the overall mainstream memory market on the basis of memory technology: NAND flash, NOR flash, dynamic random access memory (DRAM), static random access memory (SRAM) and serial electrically erasable programmable read only memory (serial EEPROM).
- Breaking down the overall new age memory market on the basis of memory technology: non-volatile RAM (NRAM), magneto-resistive RAM (MRAM), phase change RAM (PCRAM), ferroelectric RAM (FeRAM) and molecular RAM
- Breaking down the individual mainstream memory technology market along end-user applications and geographical regions
- Breaking down the individual new age semiconductor memory technology market along end-user applications and geographical regions
- Analyzing the applications, drivers and prospects for mainstream memory technology chipsets
- Analyzing the benefits, technology, drivers and prospects for new age memory technology chipsets
- Analyzing the stakeholder value chain for mainstream and new age memory technologies
- Analyzing the patenting activity involving mainstream and new age memory technologies.
REASONS FOR DOING THE STUDY
While the present economic downturn has been bad for the overall semiconductor industry, its impact on the memory domain has been especially severe with majors such as Qimonda having to close shop altogether. The impending merger between NEC Electronics and Renesas has been also necessitated by the heavy losses incurred by each one of them. Almost all memory chipmakers have been in the red in this duration.
While it may sound logical for companies to bear losses during downturns, it is definitely ironic for memory chipmakers to be in this position. The memory market is dominated by a small number of very large chipset manufacturers. In normal cases, such a scenario should act as an insurance against downturn, and the impact of the downturn should be gentler. That is, however, not the case with the memory industry.
The reason for this exaggerated shock is that the industry has been comparatively stagnant in innovation activities, with the same set of technologies having an extended run. Innovation is often a good shock absorber against recession, as products with higher levels of innovation are likely to yield better margins and witness greater demand due to their favorable position on the learning curve.
While the last decade has seen the introduction of several radical suggestions in memory synthesis, the level of their commercialization thus far has been dismal. The stakeholder interest in these new age methodologies is out of compulsion induced by the laws of physics.
The exploration of the path of new age technologies in the memory domain and the concurrent performance of existing stalwarts was always going to present an engaging comparative analysis. This report is an effort in highlighting the similarities and differences in the paths charted by these two memory technology categories.
SCOPE OF THE REPORT
The report forecasts the size of the mainstream memory and new age semiconductor memory technologies market from 2009 through 2014.
The executive summary provides a snapshot of key findings of the report.
The chapter on the technology analysis assesses the technologies constituting the mainstream and new age memory. It covers their evolution, drivers, prospects and applications. The chapter also sets the ground by comprehensive introductions and explanations to the technologies and assumptions.
The chapter on regional analysis presents a geography specific perspective of the prospects of individual memory technology chipsets.
The chapter on stakeholders explains the criterion for classification of stakeholders—integrated device manufacturers (IDM), device original equipment manufacturers (OEM)/motherboard manufacturers, intellectual property (IP) owners, semiconductor chip manufacturers, fabless companies and foundries. It also provides the latest information on the mainstream semiconductor and new age memory-related initiatives of key companies in each category.
The U.S. Patent Analysis chapter highlights the patenting activity underway in the area of mainstream and new age memory technologies. The chapter classifies the patents awarded according to the activities involved in the synthesis and operations of mainstream and new age memory technologies. It also provides a yearly, geographic and distribution by company of these patents.
The report is punctuated with numerical findings and projections that substantiate and drive the theoretical discussion.
The report will be relevant to the following stakeholders:
- Memory chip manufacturers, the face of the memory industry, as this report maps the prospects of their outputs in the conventional and new age spaces
- IP owners, who are the growth engines of innovation, as this report forecasts the market potential for their innovation initiatives
- Foundries, who bring the largest quantum of investment to the table, as this report forecasts the market size in terms of volume shipments, which can be a useful barometer for forecasting their occupancy levels
- Fabless companies, as this report maps the prospects of their outputs in the conventional and new age spaces
- IDMs, as the report details the average selling price (ASP) trends of mainstream and new age memory technologies.
- Device OEMs and motherboard makers, as this report details the technology and business relative benefits of the mainstream and new age memory technologies.
METHODOLOGY AND INFORMATION SOURCES
The report forecasts the market size for the following:
- Mainstream memory technologies: NAND flash, NOR, flash, dynamic random access memory (DRAM), static random access memory (SRAM) and serial electrically erasable programmable read only memory (EEPROM)
- New age memory technologies: Non volatile/nano RAM (NRAM), magnetic RAM (MRAM), phase change RAM (PCRAM), ferroelectric RAM (FeRAM) and molecular RAM
The following metrics are forecast:
- Value in millions of dollars
- Volume in millions of units
- Market by end-application categories such as telecommunications, computing, consumer electronics, industrial, scientific, and others
- Market by geographical regions such as the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and Asia-Pacific (APAC)
Both primary and secondary research methodologies were used in this study. Industry experts were interviewed; secondary sources included industry consortia, individual company financial statements, published opinions, and other published sources.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kaustubha Parkhi has worked in a broad range of functional roles with leading telecom operators and service providers such as Reliance Infocomm, Ramco Systems, and BPL Cellular. He has written on an array of telecommunications- and electronics-related subjects based on his critical analysis of the underlying technology and its business impact. Kaustubha holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Equivalent of Bachelor of Science) in Electronics and Telecommunications, and an MBA in Systems.
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The information developed in this report is intended to be as reliable as possible at the time of publication and of a professional nature. This information does not constitute managerial, legal, or accounting advice; nor should it serve as a corporate policy guide, laboratory manual, or an endorsement of any product, as much of the information is speculative in nature. The author assumes no responsibility for any loss or damage that might result from reliance on the reported information or its use.