Flash memory-based data storage, long the domain of a handful of suppliers, is drawing a crowd of new entrants that could see shortages abate by the middle of next year. The rush of newcomers is being fueled by the booming market for NAND, and prospects that the constantly increasing storage needs of digital still cameras, cell phone cameras, Internet wireless handsets, and flash cards will continue unchecked. Alan Niebel, an analyst with Web-Feet Research Inc. said that feature-rich mobile phones requiring flash data storage are expected to jump from 32 percent of all cellular handsets sold this year to 69 percent by 2008. Smart phones, which require even higher levels of data storage, will grow from 5 percent of the cell phone market in 2003 to 19 percent in 2008, according to Niebel.
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