MILPITAS, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Mention smartphones and tablets and companies like Apple (AAPL) and Research In Motion (RIMM) spring to mind, although the explosion in mobile data is also driving growth at Flash memory giant SanDisk (SNDK).
SanDisk shares have risen more than 33% this year, somewhat disproving the notion that storage is unsexy. Companies like Motorola (MOT), Samsung, Apple and RIM use SanDisk Flash, making the storage maker a crucial ( if largely unseen) part of the mobile revolution.
And to think that SanDisk's mobile boost is a far cry from SanDisk's legacy business of providing Flash cards for products such as point-and-shoot cameras.
"Sandisk can be described as best in class in the flash memory space due to its leadership in the flash card business," explained Tristan Gerra, senior analyst at Robert W. Baird, in an email to TheStreet. The analyst points to SanDisk's reputation for innovation, as illustrated with its revolutionary 3-bit per-cell manufacturing process, which essentially allows more information to be placed in a smaller place.Developed jointly by SanDisk and Toshiba, 3-bit per cell boosts the capacity of Flash memory while at the same time cutting production costs. SanDisk recently explained that 3-bit per cell is slashing its manufacturing costs by 40% and helped the company achieve its best-ever gross margin of 52% during the third quarter. "The company is very much a leader in innovation, being the first to come out with 3-bit per cell Flash," added Daniel Amir, senior research analyst at Lazard Capital Markets. "That gives them an advantage." This, in turn, is opening the door to new markets. "As the cost of NAND technology and NAND products continues to come down, there will be more opportunities for us," explained SanDisk CEO Eli Harari, during a recent briefing with journalists. Harari, who retires at the end of this year, sees future growth for the company in emerging markets such as India, citing the Indian government's efforts to build a $35 tablet for students.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV