Tablet PCs Impact HDD Market

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New York - An iSuppli report is blaming the growth of tablet PCs, which use flash memory for extended storage, as the primary reason for an expected decline in hard-disk-drive (HDD) shipments.

The research firm reported 2011 first-quarter shipments will dip 4 percent to 160.9 million units worldwide, from 167.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The report specifically cited falling interest in netbooks and other devices that use HDDs due to the tablet PC's increasing popularity as being behind the drop, calling the trend "a major threat to HDD demand."

Western Digital maintained its spot as the top global shipper of HDDs, sending out 52.2 million units during the fourth quarter of 2010. Seagate came in second, shipping 48.9 million units, despite losing some share to Hitachi Global Storage, which shipped 30.3 million units during the quarter.

iSuppli also noted that average selling prices for HDDs fell during the fourth quarter, possibly due to a glut in the market. This trend is likely to continue this year, the company said.

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