Don't forget that Samsung is also a maker of hard drives. If having an internal supplier was a decision factor for the cell phone division, they could still choose HDD for storage and source from a sister division.
Samsung was also the first company to bring a disk-drive equipped phone to market (the SPH-V5400).
I agree that flash could ultimately prove to be a better fit for the mobile market than HDD, but I believe that Samsung will make decisions on which to implement based on the technology fit and emergent demand for storage capacity, not on a bias to throw business to their internal flash division.
Ipod's - flash vs. HDD. How many songs does someone really need to store? That is why Apple is going with flash on 4gb
Cell phones - what are multiple applications? If a camera, then you need lots of storage = HDD.
HDD CE needs music and video/camera to combine creating almost unlimited demand for storage by the consumer.
Economics and access time are a factor, but medium/long-term will be driven by the technology requirement.
>> Further, since samsung makes the flash memory, and samsung makes cell phones, it stands to reason they'll put their flash in their own phones. <<
actually samsung was first to market with producing a cellphone with HDD (1.5 gig SPH-V5400) and also one of two cellphone manufacturers as far as i know who have announced HDD models (re-release of i300 with a 0.85" cornice 3gb drive) slated for the end of the year (nokia being the other with a 4gig n91)
looking at the previous designs of the korean cell phone manufacturers, they may not be innovators but they are certainly aggressive about incorporating new technology into phones and playing one-upsmanship with each other especially in their home market (the megapixel arms race in their camera phones shows this pretty clearly) so i can see them being eager to play this out with hdd's as well
there is another issue which usually is ignored in discussing flash vs hdd. That is write access speed. The higher density flash memory is accessed using multi-level controller technology (MLC). This is much slower than single-level controller (where each byte is reachable individually). this will be a deciding issue for flash vs hdd in video cameras where buffering is useless. That application needs the throught-put over a long period of time. This issue is less important for read-dominant application such as mp-3 player.
To see how close Flash can get to 1" HDD, watch two products:
The STX ST650211U-RK which a 5GB USB device using their 1" drive. Goes for $132 at newegg.
Compare that to ANY 4GB Flash USB drive, which the lowest is $239 at newegg.
If Samsung wants to give memory away, OK. But Flash STILL has a ways to got to catch up to HDD in price & density, even after flash prices have dropped more than 50% in the last year.
I don't see how hdd can be the dominant storage media for cell phones. Flash is much more suitable from size, weight and power considerations. Further, since samsung makes the flash memory, and samsung makes cell phones, it stands to reason they'll put their flash in their own phones.
Apple is going with 4G Flash memory in their mini Ipod. Will this be taken away the potential large future market for sub 1 inch drive in the cell phone market for the Disk drive companies?
any comment is appreciated on this technical trend.
"Global DVR ships can't possibly be anywhere near as weak as these numbers would suggest."
I think the point you were trying to make is that given the volumes shipping between the big 3, the volume seems kinda low given your perception of the size of the CE market.
Actually, its your perception that may need adjusting. First, the CE space is relatively new - 2 years ago it didn't exist. This market is still very new. In two years, STX alone has grown this segment from scratch to the second largest - bigger than mobile & enterprise combined (for STX). While Desktop is still the largest segment, CE is 40% of Desktop. What intrigues everyone is this growth rate. It's still exponential. That can't last for long, but it may very well rival Desktop in the not too distant future.
Second, the CE space is really two segments - below 2.5" and everything else in CE (which really is mostly using desktop drives). It wouldn't surprise me to see these two sub-segments spilt off into their own worlds - they seem to address different market segments and there are different players in each. The 1"/1.8" segment will also face future competition from flash, whereas it will be a very longtime before the PVR/DVR space is threatened by flash.
If STX says it has 30% of the CE market, that puts it at 20Mill units/qtr. And growing fast.