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Brief: Flash Memory Plentiful As MP3 Craze Slows

Last year at this time, the Apple iPod was causing massive shortages in the NAND-based flash memory market. Not this year.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — What a difference a year makes.

Last year, the MP3 player boom caused shortages of NAND-based flash memories in the marketplace. More specifically, Apple Computer Inc.’s iPod craze caused NAND-based flash shortages in the first and second quarter of 2005.

Now, heading into Chinese New Year at the end of January, demand for NAND-based flash is sluggish, according to Gartner Dataquest Inc.

The impact on the MP3 market? “Gartner Dataquest does expect healthy music player demand and expects that music player inventories will be better-managed, at least compared to last year,” according to an e-mail newsletter from the research firm.

For the week ending January 20, NAND flash spot pricing was “mixed, with low-density parts showing declines, and the high- density parts showing firmer pricing,” according to the newsletter.

Prices for 1- and 2-Gbit NAND devices fell 5.5 and 9.5 percent, respectively, last week. Prices for monolithic 4-Gbit and multi-die 8-Gbit parts were up about 2 percent last week.