Phones will drive up flash prices, says Intel

As mobile phone makers pack more flash memory into increasingly capable handsets, the price of the memory will break out of the...

As mobile phone makers pack more flash memory into increasingly capable handsets, the price of the memory will break out of the downward trend of the past two years, an Intel executive claimed yesterday.

"The new density is going to change that dynamic substantially," said Ron Smith, senior vice-president and general manager of Intel's Wireless Communications and Computing Group. "We'll not only see price stability but will see prices coming back up."

Mobile phone makers are using more flash memory to support functions such as Internet access and cameras. This trend will bring flash supply and demand back into balance, Smith said.

Intel regards the convergence of communications and computing as the next engine of IT industry growth.

The company hopes to lead the charge with products such as Manitoba, its new XScale processor for mobile devices. It includes an application processor, a digital signal processor and flash memory on a single chip. The company is now producing the Manitoba chip in sample quantities.

Intel is also shifting its flash memory production from a 0.18-micron manufacturing process to a 0.13-micron process, which lets it pack more memory into a smaller amount of space.

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