Friday, August 05, 2005

Mobile Memory Teardown Analysis

Here's another post of a more techincal nature about the technology used in mobile devices. iSuppli analyst Mark DeVoss writes an article for EETimes about the most prevalent memory types used in today's handsets.

iSuppli did a teardown of 30 mobile phones (sounds like a perfect job for Gadget Geek Jr!) and the analysis "revealed that NOR-type flash memory remains firmly entrenched as the code storage memory of choice for wireless handsets, although NAND flash memory is starting to make inroads as a data-storage medium."

The analysis looked at a cross-section of handset representing all segments of the market - entry-level to full-featured smartphones. DeVoss offers up some very detailed info, such as average densities of memory and the overall bill of materials (BOM) costs for handsets and the percentage of it taken up by memory.

DeVoss concludes that "the percentage of the BOM allocated to memory remains relatively small, as is the amount of absolute dollars available to spend on memory. Over the next year, as more advanced third-generation (3G) phones grow to represent a larger percentage of the market, the possibility exists that the memory budget of wireless handsets will rise."

That's a good thing as most handsets today don't come with enough memory to begin with. If the carriers want to promote mobile content and services to drive more data network usage, they have to get over the fear that more memory will allow customers to bypass them completely and put their own content on the phone. There is nothing worse then trying to download content OTA only to find the handset has not enough memory...