Maybe the term "flashtops"—which The Station coined more than a year ago—will finally catch on now. I expect that when these ultra-thin (three-quarter-inch thick), ultra-light (2 pounds) and power-saving solid-state notebook PCs start selling in volume, the term will become commonly used.
And since the prices are just beginning to come down, it looks as though the time for flashtops may be nigh.
Dell and Samsung are selling 32GB flash-based versions now as an option—for a whopping $995 premium over a regular spinning-disk drive-powered notebook. But analysts expect that extra cost to come all the way down to about $100 in the next few years, and that's when the growth is expected to really start happening.
Meanwhile, the overall solid-state disk market is definitely heating up, with new players entering this segment and existing suppliers expanding their product lines to take advantage of expanding opportunities in established markets.
Respected analyst Alan Niebel of Web-Feet Research told The Station that total revenues in 2012 for SSDs in computing, consumer, enterprise, industrial, military, aerospace and avionic are expected to reach $10.2 billion—growing at the astonishing rate of 72 percent per year.
"Most of this rapid growth will be attributed to NAND flash price declines accelerating the adoption of SSDs into the PC space," Niebel said. "This will account for 65 percent of the total revenue in 2012."
The SSD market has a bright future ahead with the heightened requirements for improved performance and reliability leading the list of "must haves" for their respective segments, Niebel said.
"SSDs will narrow the gap with HDDs in cost and capacities which has been the gating factor for SSD adoption for many applications. With the inherent advantages of SSDs over HDDs in performance, reliability and ruggedness, coupled with declining costs and higher capacities, SSD adoption will accelerate significantly at the end of the forecast period," Niebel said.
Web-Feet Research's full 145-page report, "Solid State Drives Markets and Applications 2007-2012"—which includes detailed forecasts, figures and tables—is now available. The report also includes a perspective of the HDD market and how both storage technologies play in competing and complementing applications. If you'd like a copy (at $5,000 for the annual version or $7,500 for a quarterly edition), e-mail Niebel here.
Hey, it may look expensive off the top, but good market information used the right way can be invaluable.