DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, recently confirmed worldwide mobile DRAM revenue of US$3.607 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014 – representing 27.8% of DRAM industry value and a 4.2% quarterly increase. In addition, mobile DRAM made up nearly 40% of all DRAM shipments.
According to DRAMeXchange assistant VP Avril Wu, mobile memory’s average selling price fell slightly by 5% in the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, bit shipment volume rose due to sustained smartphone demand growth driven by Apple’s iPhone 6/6 Plus.
“Mobile DRAM prices are unlikely to fall in 2015 because the next generation iPhone is expected to increase its memory to 2GB,” said Wu. “In fact, prices may rise in the third quarter.”
As Wu notes, the highlight of the 2015 mobile memory industry is next-gen LPDDR4. Currently, Qualcomm’s 810 is the first chip to support the new technology, although a small number of flagship smartphones packed with LPDDR4 are slated to arrive in the second quarter.
However, says Wu, LPDDR4’s manufacturing costs remain high and have yet to achieve price parity with LPDDR3. As such, LPDDR4 is not anticipated to become the mainstream market choice until the second half of 2016.
Instead, mobile demand growth in 2015 is expected to stem from the pressure of increasing device memory. More specifically, mid-level Android smartphones manufacturers will be prompted to upgrade to 1.5GB or 2GB of mobile DRAM to achieve optimized performance with version 5.0 of the popular mobile operating system.
Loren Shalinsky, a Strategic Development Director at Rambus, confirms that the features offered in next-gen smartphones will continue to demand an increase in higher performing memory.
“Such features include advanced imaging sensors, capturing super slow motion video and graphics-heavy gaming that utilize 4K resolution screens,” he added.