Micron is excited by the combination of growth drivers coming into alignment for the industry for 2021. These growth drivers include: economic recovery from the pandemic; new CPU architectures, which are enabling higher server content; cloud, AI and machine-learning growth; robust mobile demand driven by 5G; and strength in gaming and automotive.
The smartphone market has been impacted by COVID, but in 2021, we expect a rebound in smartphone unit volumes, coupled with robust average capacity growth across both DRAM and NAND solutions. 5G handset volumes could grow to approximately 500M units in 2021, from around 200M units in 2020, and these 5G products feature higher memory and storage content to enable enhanced user experience.
The data center market continues to be a growth engine for Micron, and this year COVID-19 accelerated this growth, specifically in cloud. The market is expected to start its transition to DDR5 in the second half of FY21, and networking and 5G deployments, particularly in Asia, will drive healthy DRAM bit growth quarter-over-quarter.
PC & Graphics
Work from home trends continue to drive strong demand for notebooks, with pockets of nonmemory component shortages in the supply chain. We expect a resurgence in desktop PC sales after a weak 2020 due to pandemic-driven changes to customer buying patterns.
In 2021, Auto DRAM and NAND will continue to see robust demand autonomous vehicles and even connected cars promise more features including in-vehicle infotainment, 4K displays, AI-enabled features like gesture recognition and natural language processing, we’re seeing an exponential increase in memory and compute demands. The modern automobile has more lines of code than any other application or operating system—more than Facebook, Windows 10, airplanes, etc. In fact, the amount of compute performance needed for cars is reaching data center levels; in advanced driver assistance / autonomous driving cars need hundreds of tera operations per second which is some of the highest levels of performance in the industry today, rivaling what you will find in data centers and servers. Given these trends, in 2021, we can expect to see automotive players increasingly turning to alternative options for low-power, energy-efficient memory and storage such as fast, high-bandwidth graphics memory and compact multi-chip packages.
(The Opinions and Point of Views are of Anand Ramamoorthy, MD,Micron Technology, India.)