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Northwest chip maker to tap demand for smartphone memory

Consumers are using their phones to do what their computers once did. And that's prompting a major technology company in the Northwest to shift its focus too.

The bread and butter of Micron Technology has been memory for PCs. But the CEO of the Boise chip maker told Bloomberg BusinessWeek the company will expand its base of products for mobile devices.

Industry analyst Charles Golvin of Forrester Research says that makes sense. Computer purchases aren't as predictable as they once were. He says the economy is part of it.

"But also, there is a certain amount of displacement that's happening," he says. "That is, some people who might have otherwise purchased a new laptop this year might decide that they can continue to live with their existing laptop, but they'd like to take that money and apply it to buying a new tablet, like an iPad."

Golvin says when you consider the amount of music, photos and applications people want to put on their tablets and smartphones, that equals huge demand for memory.

Last quarter was the first time Micron didn't get most of its earnings from memory chips for PCs.

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Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Inland Northwest Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covers the economic, demographic and environmental trends that are shaping places east of the Cascades.