Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Flash-based drives may replace hard drives in laptops in 10 years: In-Stat report

Portable computing devices with hard-drives could lose market share to Flash-based computing devices, according to research firm In-Stat. The market analyst firm said that over the next 10 years, mobile computing devices with Flash-based solid state drives (SSDs) would outsell other portable devices equipped with hard disk drives.

In-Stat based its forecast on the declining trend in memory prices and said that other advantages with the Flash memory would contribute to the growing preference. For instance, notebook users observe that Flash memory requires less power to store data compared to those that have hard disk drives. And as Flash memory does not have any movable parts, SSDs would be seen as more reliable.

By 2013, the firm predicts, 50 percent of all mobile computing devices would be shipped with SSDs; and in another three years, these could outsell the latter. The firm conducted a survey covering 389 users of various mobile computing devices. For most of them, power saving was the key aspect for the preference.

Two thirds said they would even be willing to pay extra for SSD-based devices. That may not seem likely as the growing market for SSDs have helped keep Flash memory prices down and In-Stat expects the trend to continue. In-Stat analyst Frank Dickson said the growing preference for SSDs for its many benefits and the continuing declines in flash prices make “it is easy to see that there will be a clear demand for SSDs”. SSDs could become the preferred storage medium in portable computing devices and replace laptops, he said.