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September 17, 2012

Smartphones and tablets use more DRAM bits than PCs: report

PCs in the second quarter accounted for 49% of DRAM bit shipments, compared to 50.2% in the first quarter of 2012

By CBR Staff Writer

For the first time since 1980s smartphones and tablets used more Dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) bits than PCs, according to a new report.

According to a report by IHS iSuppli, PCs in the second quarter accounted for 49% of DRAM bit shipments, compared to 50.2% in the first quarter of 2012.

For decades majority of DRAM bit production was consumed PCs, with PCs accounting about 55% of the DRAM shipment from the first quarter of 2008 until the fourth quarter of 2011.

The share DRAM bits in PCs fluctuated periodically and reporting drop in use.

According to the report, PCs are expected to account just 42.8% of DRAM chip production by the end of 2013, with remaining being used between phones, tablets and other devices.

IHS memory analyst Clifford Leimbach said the arrival of the post-PC era doesn’t mean that people will stop using personal computers, or even necessarily that the PC market will stop expanding.

"What the post-PC era does mean is that personal computers are not at the center of the technology universe anymore — and are seeing their hegemony over the electronics supply chain erode," Leimbach said.

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"PCs are no longer generating the kind of growth and overwhelming market size that can single-handedly drive demand, pricing and technology trends in some of the major technology businesses."

Tablets share of the DRAM bit shipments grew to 2.7% in the second quarter, up from 1.6% in the first quarter, the share is expected to grow gradually rising 4 percentage points reaching 6.9% by the fourth quarter next year.

Since Apple introduced iPad in 2010, the popularity of tablets is growth at the cost of PCs, especially notebooks, with tablets being regarded as acceptable PC complements or substitutes.

Cellphones is drive growth at faster rate with DRAM bit use in cellphones rising to 19.8% in the fourth quarter of 2013, up nearly 7 points from 13.2% in the second quarter of 2012.

Cellphones and tablets will use 26.7% of the DRAM bit shipment by the fourth quarter of 2013, almost double from 14.1% in the first quarter of 2012.

Amidst the sliding share DRAM bits in PCs, the PCs will continue to remain single market for DRAM at least through the end of 2013, and overall DRAM bit shipments for personal computers will continue to grow, the report claimed.

"For DRAM suppliers, the focus in the future increasingly will be on serving the needs of fast-expanding new markets for smartphones and tablets, at the expense of catering to the PC business," Leimbach said.

"This follows other indications of the waning influence of the PC business in the electronics business."

"Such factors include the declining power of the Wintel alliance, as well as Apple Inc.’s smartphone- and tablet-driven ascendency to chip purchasing leadership above traditional PC-oriented frontrunners like Hewlett-Packard."

According to report, DRAM loading in tablets expected to record robust growth in the coming years, reaching 2 gigabytes by 2015 after recording DRAM loading growth of 79% this year.

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