Oversupply Of Flash Memory Yields Bargains

As if on cue after HotHardware's News Item about the future of solid state memory, USA Today has a article today about the plentiful supply of flash memory chips, and how that oversupply is putting downward pressure on prices. Some are even being sold at a loss to shed supply. Memory bargain hunters, start your engines.

Some wholesale flash prices tumbled 22% in the first quarter from the previous quarter, Semico Research says.

That's bad news for companies that manufacture flash, including Samsung, Toshiba and Hynix (formerly a division of Hyundai). But it lowers the cost of making everything from universal serial bus (USB) drives to navigation systems to cellphones.

Savings are being passed on to consumers — but not in the way one might expect, says tech analyst Stephen Baker at researcher NPD. "You're not seeing changes in the pricing. They're just giving you more (memory)," he says.

Take camera memory cards and USB drives, two common uses for flash. Average price for both has stayed around $26 for six months, NPD says. But the average amount of storage in each has jumped to 2.15 gigabytes in the first quarter from 1.85 GB, NPD says.

Note to USA Today: Giving you more for the same price is a change in pricing. I'll make a pie chart to explain it to you later.