NAND flash memory stock is expected to remain tight until the next year, affecting a multitude of sectors and devices from Nintendo's new Switch handheld-console hybrid to traditional SSD storage.
Key analysts and industry sources have told Tom's Hardware that the flash memory shortage could last well into 2018. As big chip-makers such as SK Hynix, Toshiba and Samsung focus on more efficient 3D NAND flash memory for all market sectors including enterprise, business and retail, allocation for traditional flash memory, which is used in a number of devices such as Nintendo's Switch handheld console, mobile phones, and SSDs, remains constrained. Toshiba, for example, is bringing its 64-layer 3D VNAND BiCS Flash memory to the retail SSD market, but as Tom's Hardware notes the rollout is quite slow. This triggers a reaction throughout the entire supply chain at the fabrication plants in which these chips are made.
We've already reported that titans like Apple and Samsung are laying claim to the bulk of available flash memory for their respective mobile handsets, leading to shortages that affect a number of devices. This, of course, is compounded by the rollout and fabrication of new advanced 3D NAND memory technologies. Interestingly enough, Chinese tech giant Lenovo recently had its Q1 2017 earnings strongly impacted with a $73 million dollar loss thanks in part to the flash shortage. The company may raise the prices of its products to offset the shortage's impact and protect its margins, Reuters reports. "Most of the component cost is stabilizing except memory ... and the price is still going up," Lenovo COO Gianfranco Lanci said during the Q1 earnings call.