Nand’s ability to retain data without power makes it the technology of choice for storage in portable devices. Its price is declining by almost 40 per cent each year, which has been a big contributory factor in it overtaking sales of DRam.
The growing capacity of Nand – its most recent developments have produced 4GB chips – will offer massive increases in the storage arena for devices such as mobile phones, PDAs and other portable computing devices.
A new technology integrated into Microsoft’s Vista will allow USB Flash drives to expand a PC’s main memory bank along with support for Flash caches in hard drives to accelerate boot times. The result will be the increased use of Flash devices in PCs, which will drive the Flash memory market based on Nand technology.
This presents an opportunity for resellers and retailers in the Flash memory space. While current solid state memory markets – mobile phone, MP3, cameraphone – will continue to gobble up Flash, new opportunities for removable memory and associated accessories will soar.
To maximise these opportunities, reseller sales staff must effectively market the benefits of the products to their particular target audience. For example, people who use a computer at home will be interested in value for money, whereas a corporate investing in multiple units is likely to have concerns about the security and longevity of the device. The games and entertainment markets, on the other hand, will be sold on the capacity and performance of memory products and duplication services.
The face of the reseller market has changed drastically over the past five to 10 years with traditional VARs and system integrators focusing more on services and providing full customer solutions, rather than hardware alone.
The reseller selling portable devices has an opportunity to target these customers with Flash memory that can be used between multiple portable computing, imaging and communications devices. Unless the VAR is aware of the various applications of this storage, they will lose out on additional sales.
Educating staff to share their knowledge of the technology with customers comes first. In this way, resellers will be to make the most of the opportunities ahead.
Whether Nand will ultimately threaten the use of hard disks in the future is a question for the manufacturers to debate. In the meantime, there is still plenty of money to be made in the channel.
Jon Blows is general manager at Catalus.
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