Analysts report AMD's Spansion has pushed Intel to the second place in the cell phone flash memory market segment:
Spansion sold $1.8 billion worth of NOR flash in that sector during 2006, increasing 35 percent above its sales for 2005 and growing far faster than the market as a whole, which rose 16.4 percent to $6.1 billion, said iSuppli Corp.
At the same time, Intel suffered from problems with production capacity, limiting its revenue growth to an increase of just 5.1 percent, to reach $1.6 billion, according to Mark DeVoss, a senior analyst for iSuppli.
Together, those factors produced a 29.9 percent share of the global mobile phone flash market for Spansion, which had not existed as an independent company until chipmaker AMD spun it off in December 2005. The next largest supplier was Intel with 26.1 percent share, then ST Microelectronics NV with 15.7 percent, Samsung with 11.2 percent, and Toshiba with 6.5 percent.
Despite the growing popularity of solid-state memory in electronic devices like digital cameras, smartphones, printers, and TVs, both NOR and NAND flash memory producers are struggling to stay profitable as chip prices fall. That trend will continue in 2007, although NAND flash makers could find salvation as PC designers increasingly trade rotating disk storage for solid state memory, iSuppli said. The future still looks bleak for NOR makers, who rely almost completely on wireless handset sales.