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MP3 players mop up Flash supplies

South Korean vendors predict major memory shortfall

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The massive growth of the Internet-based music industry is having an unexpected effect: as manufacturers ramp up production of digital music players, supplies of Flash memory are reaching rock bottom. According to a report in EE Times, South Korea is rapidly running out of Flash chips. Memory producers are shifting production from 16Mb parts to 32Mb chips, and that's pushing prices down from around $1.50 per megabyte to $1 per megabyte, the paper reports. And the production shift is likely to ensure the increasing demand doesn't, for once, push prices up. Digital music players, such as Diamond Multimedia's Rio and Creative Technologies' Nomad, essentially use Flash memory as a removable storage system -- the devices do not contain regular DRAM. Demand is increasing to such an extent that Samsung has converted some DRAM production lines to turn out Flash parts, nearly doubling its Flash capacity. ® See also Memory claws its way back UK boffins unveil $35 '2300GB on a PC Card' RAM breakthrough What was last month's DRAM price hike all about? Samsung unveils SDRAM-beating SGRAM Apple slips Samsung $100m in LCD priority bid

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