Although it isn't generally used as a primary selling point with consumers, the amount of installed memory on smartphones is getting considerably bigger and more noticeable.
The amount of dynamic random access memory (DRAM), in particular, is expected to increase by nearly 50 percent on each smartphone shipped this year, according to market intelligence firm IHS iSuppli.
Specifically, IHS reported that the average amount of DRAM content in smartphones will expand to 666MB in 2012 -- up from 453MB in 2011 and 202MB in 2010.
Clifford Leimbach, an analyst covering memory demand forecasting at IHS, explained in the report that the surge in onboard memory is basically to meet the demands of the rest of the advanced hardware being installed in smartphones these days.
As smartphones become more sophisticated, memory usage in the devices continues to rise—not only to satisfy user wants and needs but also to accommodate demands made by ever-more powerful processors and increasingly refined LCD screens. And as memory has increased in smartphones, the industry has moved from a complex world featuring differing memory densities, to a simpler space where phones look increasingly similar from a memory perspective.
Looking forward, IHS projected that the 8GB density DRAM chip will be the leading option installed on smartphones with 46 percent of the market share next year. The current leader, the 4GB density, is expected to drop to 28 percent.
Furthermore, IHS expects the demand for DRAM to get even bigger in the next few years to the point where 8GB won't be enough as the 16GB DRAM chip is expected to overtake both of these options by 2015 with 56 percent of the smartphone market.
Graph via IHS iSuppli