Intense competition between flash memory suppliers has lowered costs and stimulated consumer adoption of removable solid-state storage, according to analysts.
Worldwide removable solid-state storage sales totalled $2.13bn (£1.31bn) in 2002, a 72.9 per cent increase from 2001 revenue of $1.23bn, according to Gartner.
The analyst defines removable solid-state storage as portable storage devices that use non-volatile memory and do not contain moving parts. This category consists mainly of flash cards and USB flash drives.
"The flash card and USB flash drive market is price-point driven, which means that consumers will buy the maximum number of megabytes of storage that their budget will allow, so the market greatly benefited from the reduced costs associated with the adoption of advanced semiconductor device technology," said Joseph Unsworth, analyst for Gartner's semiconductor group, in a statement.
"Competition between the main NAND flash memory device suppliers, Samsung and Toshiba, further accelerated cost per bit declines. The lower costs fuelled the continued growth of the flash card market.
"However, the more explosive growth was in the USB flash drive market as this new application was adopted quickly in the marketplace."
The Gartner Dataquest report, Removable Solid-State Storage Market Share, 2002, also found that the majority of flash card and USB flash drive vendors enjoyed significant growth as retail prices became affordable to consumers.
Flash card revenue increased 66.8 per cent to $1.995bn in 2002, up from $1.196bn in 2001. USB flash drive revenue increased from $36.3m in 2001 to $135.6m in 2002.
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