As the market for mobile devices continues to grow, PCR catches up with SanDisk’s regional sales manager Jon Maartensz to find out why that’s good news for the microSD format and for resellers alike...
Can you give us a brief history of the brand?
Actually, this year we will be celebrating our 25th year as company, so it’s timely of you to ask. Over that time we’ve pioneered the flash memory format and introduced many key innovations, one of those being SanDisk were the co-inventors of the microSD card format in 2004.
Reliability, speed and storage capacity are the predominant features of microSD products. Does this in any way limit the innovation of new products?
That’s probably enough parameters to focus our innovation on! Hopefully by now, SanDisk’s reliability is proven and trusted. As a vertically integrated manufacturer, the ability to provide higher capacity points through advancing developments in nanometer technology is something we will continue to drive. But with the processing power of today’s smartphones, we see speed as the key driver and one of SanDisk’s key differentiators.
What do you feel will drive the demand for microSD this year?
The obvious answer is smartphones. Android continues to grow rapidly in the UK, and by 2013, it’s estimated over 50 per cent new smartphones will be Android and most of these devices will be slotted.
Good news for the end user but what of the actual opportunity for the reseller?
There are estimated to be around 168m smartphones sold in EMEA in 2013. Most of these new handsets will come with microSD slots, but very few actually have included memory in the box. Even with those that do, it is usually a low capacity card and almost certainly not a performance card. So there’s opportunity for the switched-on reseller there.
What about the tablet market? Is that an opportunity for microSD?
There’s probably equally as much potential for upgrade sales here. Most retailers will tell you that they had an excellent year of growth through the tablet category. What’s more, it’s estimated that by the end of 2013 around 80 per cent of UK households will own a tablet device. Most users don’t really consider on-board storage capacity in the same way they do when buying a traditional PC. So resellers that increase this association will certainly steal a lead on those that don’t.
SanDisk recently unveiled its Extreme Pro microSD cards. How has the technology been received?
Very well. It’s currently the world’s fastest microSD card with read speeds of up to 90mb/sec. We now have a wide range of microSD cards, from our standard range through to our Ultra and the Extreme Pro. There aren’t too many other manufacturers who are able to offer that choice.
Competition in the microSD market is fierce. How does SanDisk maintain its place as a leading name in the market?
We look to work closely with our reseller partners so that we can develop our memory business together by sharing our knowledge and learnings to develop the category. We think our partners appreciate that value and together with our product innovation, that that helps set us apart from the competition.
microSD has traditionally been limited to smartphones and tablets, but new devices have generated strong demand from consumers. Has this forced the brand to widen its scope?
We work with a number of partners across a variety of channels, so when new device manufacturers introduce innovative markets to products, we generally work very closely with them. Another big area of growth this year will be the action video camera market, due to the small size and weight of these devices and because the speed and capacity of SD cards is readily available in the microSD format.
What else can we expect to see from SanDisk in mobile memory?
SanDisk brand profileWe have a number of plans to keep things interesting for our business partners and customers. Some of these you might have come to expect from us by now – and some things that might surprise you.