– Vivek Tyagi, Director-Business Development, SanDisk India
2.8 Gigabytes (GB). That is the amount of storage used up by the InfinityBlade3 game on an iPhone. The two Halo games consume 1.5GB and “Stranger” is over 1GB. Also there might be about 25GB of photos and videos and 30GB of music. This is how storage consumption looks like typically on smartphones these days.
Even though one can probably be considered a “power user”, the above figures say a lot about where the smartphone market is heading. That 60GB+ for just these apps would have far exceeded the limits of many of the top-end smartphones a few years ago. The reality is that in the increasingly mobile and interconnected “Internet of Things” (IoT) world, data consumption and creation are skyrocketing. While cloud storage is increasing simultaneously, so is the demand for higher capacity and higher performing local storage in the smartphones, tablets and personal connected devices we depend on most. As a result, storage plays an important role in many of the biggest mobility trends today.
At SanDisk, we have the opportunity to work with all major smartphone and tablet manufacturers as well as the leading application processor providers around the world. This gives us a unique view into the mobile ecosystem. Here are some of the most exciting trends we see in the changing mobile market.
1. China, India and the U.S. will shape the market in more ways than one
By 2020, these three markets are expected to account for 51 percent of all smartphone purchases according to Strategy Analytics. China alone will account for 528 million, or 28 percent, of the 1.9 billion smartphones bought in total. India, the fastest growing of the three markets, is estimated to be 252 million, and the U.S. may consume 174.6 million smartphones.
But the influence will go far beyond volume shipments. The U.S. and Chinese markets are where many of the newest and most innovative ideas have been created in the mobile industry in recent years. In the U.S., the iPhone established the smartphone category and has become the global standard leveraged by Facebook, Snapchat and others. In China, companies like Xiaomi and Huawei are following Apple’s lead by designing beautiful devices coveted by their fast-growing fan base.
In India, the home grown brand Micromax, has sold 9.9 million units worldwide in the April-June 2015 quarter, as per a recent report from Gartner. Micromax even launched a subsidiary named Yu Televentures Ltd., focused primarily on digital youth. Yu Televentures has partnered with Cyanogen to provide customised experience to users.
2. Chinese brands will go worldwide
China, in particular, is undergoing a mobile “renaissance” of sorts. There, a dynamic new wave of mobile innovators is bringing new approaches to the way smartphones are developed and sold. This is having a ripple effect around the world. Chinese vendors have tripled their shipments YoY in India and doubled quarter-on-quarter, according to IDC. Lenovo, Xiaomi, Huawei and Gionee alone accounted for 12% of the total smartphone market in the second quarter of FY’15.According to a 2015 Strategy Analytics’ report, Chinese manufacturers now occupy five of the
top ten spots in the global smartphone market and account for 24 percent of shipments, collectively second only to Samsung.
3. Smartphone users want better imaging and video capabilities, and mobile manufacturers are competing to bring new experiences to them
In the highly competitive mobile market where innovation matters, mobile OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are focusing their investments in the areas that consumers want most. Outside of form factor, two of the most important innovations that mobile OEMs tell me that their customers most frequently demand are more storage capacity and better application experiences — particularly digital photography and video. Just a few years ago, we were using our smartphones to capture the impromptu photo rather than as a digital camera for convenience. Now, for many of us, our smartphone is our primary camera. Smartphone manufacturers are responding by bringing many of the experiences that were once only possible in a high-end DSLR camera to the smartphone in your pocket. Today, innovative advancements in flash storage, application level architecture and application processors are making it possible to capture RAW images or shoot 4K Ultra HD video.
More capabilities will lead to more content. The effects of these technologies will impact everyone from device makers to suppliers of components high-resolution screens, social networks and cloud service providers.
4. Smartphone capacity will continue to grow
Higher quality imaging, among other drivers, is also leading to greater demand for storage and processing power. Counterpoint Research reported in February 2015 that 65 percent of iPhone 6 and 6+ shipments were 128GB and 64GB capacity models. This year, we saw the introduction of the first smartphone with the potential for 320GB. It’s not hard to imagine that within a few years we could have models sneaking towards half-a-terabyte.
However, this trend is not just among flagship smartphones; capacity is also growing at the so-called entry-level smartphone in key markets such as China and India. According to a Forward Insight 2015 report, the global average smartphone capacity — taking in account both entry-level and flagship smartphones — will increase more than 137 percent from 2014 to 2018.
Demand for capacity is helping to drive new innovations in the flash storage industry. As a flash storage leader, SanDisk is laser focused on new advancements in flash storage, particularly in X3 (three-bits-per-cell) NAND flash storage technology and application level architecture, that are designed to help enable mobile OEMs to cost-effectively offer devices that respond to consumers’ increasing storage demand and offer the rich, mobile experiences consumers crave.
5. The difference between smartphones and
PCs will blur
Just as today’s PC is yesterday’s supercomputer, today’s smartphone is yesterday’s PC. The power of the smartphone architecture (ARM and Android) is evolving fast from capturing, consuming and sharing to creating, editing and transforming. This means that applications that run on ARM and Android are becoming as capable as those that run on Intel and Windows. ARM and Android are moving from smartphones to bigger screen “phablets” (the tablet replacement) and to sleek-looking laptops that will be great for running all sorts of powerful applications. These new laptops will feel just like PCs and SanDisk SSDs will be perfect for these platforms.
Of course, many other things will change as IoT, wearable and other devices emerge and mature, but the above five trends are significant to our industry. It’s fun to be deeply involved.