Multimedia handsets will likely see 8GB of embedded flash memory become the standard this year, and card slots are being added to a host of mobile phones to increase storage and for added content delivery, including movies, games, software, and more.
Plus, low prices are encouraging new innovation, just as low NAND prices helped put the chips into more iPods earlier this decade. One area is in video cameras, namely, Flip video and similar devices.
For $119.99, users can buy a Flip video camcorder that uses NAND flash memory to store 30 minutes of recordings.
In addition, devices such as GPS for cars will need more flash when 3-D digital maps start replacing 2-D maps.
The good news for users is that there are so many NAND flash memory makers in the world today that prices will remain low or at least reasonable for a long time.
In a report titled "Flash to crash," Macquarie Securities chip analyst Warren Lau wrote that NAND flash memory prices will likely remain low throughout the first half of this year, with little room for upside until the third quarter.
"We continue to warn that NAND flash will see excess supply in the first half of 2008 owing to aggressive production ramp (at IM Flash and Toshiba) and the seasonally weaker period for consumer products (digital still cameras, handsets and MP3)," he wrote.
Much of the possible price movements in NAND flash actually depend on Apple because of the widespread popularity of the iPod and iPhone.
The company announced it has already shipped more than 4 million iPhones and continues to ramp shipments. iPod shipment growth has dropped a bit, according to market researcher Gartner, but higher-capacity iPod products such as the Touch have done well in the market.
"Apple is a critical driver of NAND flash consumption and will continue to yield great influence on NAND flash vendors," Gartner said in a report on Monday.