Smartphone DRAM Chips To Become Cheaper In Q4 2018: Study

The prices of DRAM chips for smartphones are likely to decline or at worst remain flat in the final quarter of the year, TrendForce unit DRAMeXchange reports, citing its latest industry findings. Suppliers have already started negotiating final-quarter contracts with device manufacturers earlier this month and while most analysts previously predicted a stagnation in prices, the significantly increased DRAM production capacities are likely to outpace the demand for new modules, despite the fact that Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 and Apple's 2018 iPhones are yet to be released, with both being expected to sell well.

The sequential growth in smartphone production is likely to rise between five to ten percentage points over the final three months of the year and while that will also drive up DRAM demand, the yield rate improvements achieved by Micron and SK Hynix in recent times are likely to offset that trend, preventing it from driving up the prices of mobile DRAM chips. Samsung, the world's largest chipmaker, also recently added a new Pyeongtaek factory to its operations, and shouldn't have any issues with meeting the demand for such modules, with many of its solutions being expected to be featured inside Galaxy-series handsets and tablets.

Should the prices of mobile DRAM decline in the final three months of the year, they may fall by up to two-percent, whereas eMCP solutions might become between two- to five-percent cheaper quarter-on-quarter. Samsung itself recently announced an 8GB LPDDR5 chip (pictured above) that's widely expected to be featured inside the Galaxy S10-series Android flagships set to be announced early next year. Compared to its last-generation LPDDR4X solutions, the new modules offer data transfer speeds that are up to 50-percent higher and can also be up to 30-percent more energy-efficient, depending on the implementation. A small decline in DRAM prices is unlikely to see any of those manufacturing savings passed on to consumers, especially given how new technologies such as in-display fingerprint readers and 3D cameras are widely expected to ramp up handset production costs over the next year.

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Dominik Bosnjak

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Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]