Flash memory manufacturers seem set to make gains as the market for their products widens.

Analysts at American Technology Research believe that flash prices will fall in the coming months, while demand for this form of storage climbs.

The analysts note that mainstream products wielding flash seem set to ship this year, saying: "We continue to believe consensus is underestimating the negative impact of flash on hard drive sales.

"Most still believe flash won't be an issue until the late 2008-2010 timeframe, but in our recent analysis of Apple's future product directions, we believe the timetable is positioned to accelerate to late 2007-2008," American Technology Research said.

Toshiba and others both seem set to make the gains, with a report this morning claiming Apple to have made an order for flash for the next quarter from the company.

Increased demand also seems set to see price rises next month, this report says, as demand for 16GB flash memory modules climbs.

"Taiwan-based memory module makers commented that the recent price rise is mainly due to earlier-than-expected pre-stocking from Apple and a warm up in demand for the iPod," the report claims.
Analysts at American Technology Research also note comments from Hitachi on the flash memory market. That company stresses the price advantage of hard drives in comparison to flash memory – but admits the price defence is shrinking. 

"The company said that mobile hard drives have a three times price advantage against flash (meaning $2-3 per GB for flash in comparison to around $0.50-1.00 for hard drives), lower than our already controversial view of OEM pricing of $5 per GB for NAND or a seven-eight times advantage," the analyst said.