HDD shipments expected to decline in face of increasing demand for tablets
This first quarter of 2011 is seeing lots and lots of new tablet releases and announcements. Dozens were shown off at CES on January and dozens more during the MWC in Barcelona and in the ongoing CeBIT expo in Germany. With tablets as the new focus of numerous computer manufacturers, netbooks are expected to take a hit in production, and in turn, hard drive disks will see a slight decline in shipment numbers.
TechEye is anticipating HDD shipments for the first quarter of 2011 to fall 3.9 percent compared to last quarter, or 160.9 million units down from 167.5 million. The numbers come from the market research firm iSuppli Corporation, a company popular for estimating raw costs of well-known electronics, such as iPhones, iPads and Playstation 3s by taking them apart and analyzing individual components.
“Tablets like Apple’s iPad represent a major threat to HDD demand,” analyst Fang Zhang from iSuppli claims. The spokesperson could be referencing the huge production numbers Apple likely has planned for the recently announced iPad 2, which may even cause a spike in worldwide demand for NAND flash chips. Additionally, Zhang considers netbooks to eventually be supplanted by tablets as tablet adoption grows.
Tablets are not completely to blame, however, as Zhang mentions current declines in notebook and desktop demand will be pulling HDD shipments down slightly as well.
Hard drive disks should not be confused with solid-state drives (SSD), as the former stores data by using heavier, mechanical parts. The latter technology uses no moving parts, is more resistant to shock, can be built much smaller and can operate with lower energy consumption. Consequently, SSDs are ideal for tablet use and is being employed in practically every tablet thus far.
Worldwide Industry use of SSDs will definitely increase this year claims iSuppli, in fact by as much as 382.4 percent over 2010. The analyst appropriately declares, “The need for NAND flash isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.”