The growth in cloud-based storage services is negating the need for more on-board storage in mobile devices, according to analysts.
Researchers with analyst firm IHS said that over the past year, the growth in the average amount of on-board memory in smartphones has actually declined over 2012 levels, as vendors appear to have at least temporarily reached a "sweet spot" for handset storage.
Analysts believe that as cloud storage and backup services are becoming more popular, users are seeing less of a need to keep large data archives on their devices. So while the average amount of handset storage increased three-fold between 2011 and 2012, between 2012 and 2013 the average sharnk from 13.2GB per device to 12.8GB.
Handsets are not the only mobile devices to have hit reign in storage. Researchers found that tablet manufacturers experienced an even bigger dip in storage demand. Over the course of the year, IHS teardown reports found that on average tablet vendors used 25 percent less storage as average capacity fell from 32.1GB to 24GB.
Some of that decrease can be explained by the increasing popularity of cheaper 7in tablets, which have flooded onto the market in the wake of Google's success with its Nexus 7.
While the report is good news for cloud service providers and mobile device vendors who are looking to keep costs down, the dip could also spell disaster for one corner of the semiconductor industry. With slowing demand for the NAND memory chips used in mobile storage, some memory vendors could see their bottom lines take a big hit.
"Mobile device brands increasingly are offering their own application ecosystems and online storage benefits that perform the same functions as onboard NAND flash," said IHS memory and storage analyst Ryan Chien,
"With mobile platforms a leading growth driver for the NAND industry, this trend represents a major cause of concern for flash memory makers."
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