iPad Pushing RAM Prices Down: Samsung
With the PC market slowing down due to the weakened economy and challenges from new devices like iPad, the drop in the price of DRAM chips may accelerate in coming months
. That's the assessment from chipmaker Samsung, which is warning that if PC sales don't improve, they'll have to lower prices on RAM chips due to "oversupply." Prices have been down since July, when the crisis in Greece sent shockwaves through the global economy, and a Samsung executive says they will continue their fall unless sales surge during the Christmas holiday and Chinese New Year.
Kwon Oh-hyun, President of the Semiconductor Business of Samsung Electronics, told attendees at the company's mobile equipment conference in Taipei
that slow computer sales may lead to a glut of RAM on the market. Oh-hyun said that mobile phones and servers were providing enough demand to keep prices "stable," but that the PC business had taken a big hit due in significant part to challenges from devices like the iPad, "which use fewer DRAM components than desktops and notebooks." With its simplified operating system, fast CPU and non-multitasking architecture, an iPad with 256MB RAM can perform as well for many tasks as a netbook with 1GB. If the slowdown continues, Kwon said, "we may see a kind of oversupply in Q4 or Q1," in other words this fall and next winter. The holiday buying season would be key, he added, saying that "it depends on demand from the U.S. Thanksgiving" and the Chinese New Year in February.
Samsung is making an effort to shore up its flagging netbook sales by introducing a tablet of its own. The Galaxy Tab
- basically an up-sized version of its Galaxy S smartphone - runs Android 2.2 Froyo, has 512MB of RAM, a 7 inch screen with both front and rear-facing cameras, and is capable of being used as a phone. It will be introduced in Italy and brought to other countries as carrier deals are set. Samsung product executive Hankil Yoon told the Wall Street Journal
that the Galaxy Tab would probably be available for between $200 and $300 US, depending on carrier subsidies.