Weigner also noted that the latest operating system technologies, such as Google's Chrome OS, include features created specifically to support flash memory and its faster I/O throughput requirements. Tablet-specific operating systems from Apple and Microsoft - along with myriad Linux-based platforms -- will predominantly be driven to take advantage of NAND flash products, he added.
"NAND's going to give you the storage capacity, the lower power consumption and the durability you need," Weinger said. "These things are hand-held devices that are going to be dropped, and you'll need the durability of NAND."
Weinger did note that NAND-based flash storage capacity is unlikely to continue doubling annually as it has in recent years.
As NAND's geometry shrinks in size, electrons move closer together and the charges that allow data to be stored in cells in the substrate material leak through cell walls causing data loss and errors, he explained. To deal with the data corruption, developers must create more and more sophisticated error correction software and therefore increase development cycles, Weinger said.
Today, the workhorse of NAND flash memory products is 32 nanometer (nm) lithography, or flash memory circuitry that is 32nm in width. All of the largest producers of NAND flash, including Micron and Intel , unveiled flash memory products with geometries in the 23nm to 27nm range over the past month.
Weigner predicted a longer development phase for the next generation of products with lower geometries.
At the same time, density will continue to increase at a fast pace as there are more and more bits stored per flash memory cell, and the number of boards contained in a device increases.
Solid state drives (SSD) today come with flash memory boards embedded with flash chips on both sides. Weinger said he expects to see multiple boards in future devices as well as an increase in the number of bits stored in flash memory cells. Today, three bits per cell are stored in multi-level cell NAND products.
Experts say that future generations of servers, laptops and netbooks will be more likely to use NAND-based PCIe cards rather than the SSDs used in most systems today. SSDs mimic hard disk drives and their communcations interfaces, which are typically either SAS in servers and SATA in PCs and laptops. The newer PCIe technology eliminates some of the bottlenecks that can slow SSDs.