Half of notebooks to use flash memory by end of 2009

iSuppli is predicting that over half of notebooks will make use of some sort NAND flash memory technology by the end of 2009. The use of flash memory in hybrid drive, solid date drives (SSD) and cache systems like Intel’s Robson Technology has been steadily increasing while prices have been dropping. iSuppli expects that 82 percent of UMPCs will use some sort of flash memory and that 73 percent of mainstream notebooks will also do so.

Flash memory offers many advantages over traditional hard drives. These include fewer mechanical parts, less power consumption, and faster performance. But flash memory will continue to be more expensive on a per gigabyte basis. In 2003, 1GB of NAND flash memory was almost 100 times more expensive as the hard drive equivalent. By 2009, that gap will be down to a factor just under 14. The same trend is taking place on the SSD side where the premium for an SSD will drop from a factor of five today to about three by 2010.

It is likely that we will see traditional hard drive capacity near if not exceed the 1TB mark but as the price differential continues to shrink, I suspect that many will opt for less capacity for the benefits of a hybrid drive or an SSD.

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