Technalysis Research
Previous Blogs

September 2, 2014
Smart Connected Devices: A New Forecast

August 26, 2014
Phablets—aka Pocket Computers—Drive New World Order

August 19, 2014
Device Usage Diversity

August 12, 2014
New Life for the PC

August 5, 2014
Hot Items for the Holidays: Large Phones, Notebooks and Smart TVs

July 29, 2014
Smartphones: Life's Remote Control

July 22, 2014
The Joy of Vintage Tech

July 15, 2014
Digital Generation Gap

July 8, 2014
Virtualization Reborn

July 1, 2014
Portable Digital Identities

June 24, 2014
The Future of UI: Contextual Intelligence

June 17, 2014
Moving to Markets of One

June 16, 2014
Insider Extra: Dell and the Battle for Business

June 10, 2014
Screen Overload to Drive Screen-less Devices

June 3, 2014
Apple Drives Vision of Seamless Multi-Device Computing

May 27, 2014
Surface Pro 3: The Future of PCs?

May 22, 2014
Insider Extra: SanDisk: The Many Faces of Flash

May 20, 2014
The Technological Divining Rod

May 13, 2014
Computing in the Cloud

May 6, 2014
Device Usage a Question of Degree

April 29, 2014
The Next Smartphone Battleground: Durability

April 22, 2014
BYOD: A Work in Progress

April 18, 2014
Insider Extra: AMD Back in the Groove

April 15, 2014
The Mobility Myth

April 9, 2014
BYOD Dilemma: Devices vs. Data

April 8, 2014
Insider Extra: Qualcomm's Evolving Story

April 1, 2014
A Wearables Forecast

March 25, 2014
Measuring Success in Wearables? It's Thousands of Thousands

March 24, 2014
Insider Extra: Intel Strategy Moves Forward

March 18, 2014
IOT: Islands of Isolated Things?

March 11, 2014
Wearables Cautionary Tale

March 4, 2014
The New Platform Battle

February 25, 2014
Watch What Happens

February 18, 2014
Talkin' 'bout Touchpads

February 11, 2014
The MultiOS Conundrum

February 4, 2014
Computing Redefined

January 28, 2014
The Apple Problem

January 21, 2014
The 2-in-1s People Might Want

January 14, 2014
The Post Tablet Era

January 7, 2014
The Innovation Asymptote

December 31, 2013
Top 5 2014 Predictions

December 17, 2013
Holiday Shoppers Gifting Themselves

December 10, 2013
Companion Apps

December 3, 2013
Aisle Check

TECHnalysis Research Blog Extra

September 8, 2014
SanDisk: Driving Flash Forward

One of the most important developments driving the improved performance of all our latest devices isn’t actually the processor inside the devices, but the storage. Flash memory, in particular, helps to overcome some of the inherent bottlenecks in system designs for tablets, smartphones, PCs and more by allowing the increasingly speedy CPUs and GPUs to get faster access to the data they need.

Until recently, however, getting access to speedy, robust flash memory has come at a relatively steep cost to device makers, particularly as they moved into larger capacities. Thanks to improvements in manufacturing capabilities, flash memory vendors such as SanDisk have been able to bring price points down, while still offering high performance. In particular, the ability to store three bits per cell—a technology SanDisk refers to as X3—has brought about new price-performance ratios that have attracted the attention and interest of even low-cost device makers.

This message came through loud and clear at SanDisk’s recent FutureProof Storage customer event held in Shenzhen, China, where key members of the rapidly expanding China Tech Ecosystem—including Rockchip, TCL, Allwinner, HiSilicon, MediaTek and others—came together to look at and discuss the state of current mobile device designs.

Through a series of presentations, including a keynote speech that I gave on trends in mobility, as well as several by SanDisk executives and technology partners Rockchip and MediaTek, a vision of how connected devices such as tablets, smartphones and PCs are expected to evolve over the next few years was laid out.

Some of the key takeaways were that performance-intensive activities, such as watching HD and even 4K video, as well as increased personal photo and video taking, were going to be placing increased strains on the overall device performance, but particularly the storage subsystem. In order to adequately meet those needs, storage vendors have to offer increasing capacities, but at price points that are acceptable to vendors who are trying to maintain aggressive pricing for their finished devices. In addition, it became clear that different types of workloads require different types of flash storage because each application has different requirements for reading and writing data into storage.

In addition to device-related issues, SanDisk executives also described the future of flash memory developments, explaining the gradual transition towards 3D NAND flash and, eventually, Resistive RAM (ReRAM) technologies. The company also discussed the opportunities for flash storage in the enterprise, where servers are being tasked with everything from streaming enormous numbers of live video streams to analyzing big data to working with the wide range of sensor-based devices that are starting to form the Internet of Things (IOT).

The event concluded with a number of frank roundtable discussions with members of the Chinese press as well as executives from other large component partners such as Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm and nVidia, discussing opportunities and challenges in consumer devices, PCs, tablets, smartphones, wearables, online storage services and more. One of the consistent themes heard throughout was the need to provide better communication across the growing range of devices that individuals own and use and how fast, reliable storage—both on the devices and in the cloud—can help meet the growing expectations that consumers will have.

The bottom line is that storage demands are continuing to increase but so is the pressure on pricing. With the appropriate kinds of technologies—such as SanDisk’s X3—those two potential conflicting trends can actually coalesce and still keep the industry moving forward.

Here's a link to the original column:

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