Laptops are to face increasing competition from tablets as new reports claim the memory capacity of slates are set to expand rapidly.Market research specialists iSupply, which was recently acquired by IHS, says the amount of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) in media tablets is set to jump by 147 percent to an average of 676 megabytes, reaching as much as 3.7GB by 2015.
Mike Howard, principal analyst at IHS, said as tablets are being required to handle more and more data-intensive applications such as video, the average DRAM content in these platforms during this year alone will be about two and a half times more than last year’s 274MB.
Howard said the exposion is set to continue through 2012. “The rapid expansion will continue next year, when average DRAM in tablets reaches approximately 1.3 gigabytes (GB). In 2015, tablets will have DRAM content similar to that of today’s laptops, reaching 3.7GB.”
Despite the substantial increases in memory capacity already seen in tablets this year, Howard says growth could have been even greater if last week’s release of Apple’s iPad 2 had comprised the full 1GB of RAM, instead of just 512MB.
Apple’s competitors, in comparison, are set to launch their devices with the full 1GB, including Motorola’s Xoom, the Hewlett-Packard’s TouchPad, and Canadian maker, RIM’s Blackberry Playbook.
IHS states Apple’s choice to shave its hotly awaited iPad 2 with slimmed down memory is not surprising however, given Steve Jobs’ philosophy to focus on the overall tablet experience, rather than its individual specifications.
If speculation is to be believed, iPad worshippers won’t have long to wait and the next version of the iPad, which might be out as early as September, may also feature a Retina display similar to the iPhone4 and iPod Touch.
Howard predicts that if this is the case, the iPad 3 will sport a 1GB memory capacity, resulting in even greater DRAM content growth in tablets for this year.
Future releases of the iOS operating system by Apple might also unleash iPad functionality that could require more DRAM, says Howard.
Meanwhile smartphones are also showing similar growth in DRAM growth, projected to grow by 62 percent this year.
While tablets are projected to show 33 percent growth in DRAM content, it is expected that by 2012-2013, tablets will rival smart phones in terms of DRAM growth, according to the researcher.
And while both tablets and smart phones use less DRAM content per device than PCs, their combined shipments in 2011 will outnumber those of PCs, making those categories well worth watching in the DRAM arena, says IHS iSupply.