Tuesday, November 23, 2004

New data storage on its way

Recently, PDAs get faster. A 400MhZ XSCALE is strong enough to handle a few GB of data. Many users want to carry collections of MP3s and ebooks with them, applications get bigger and bigger as they gain new features!
However, the storage possibilities of most handhelds are still limited to RAM and SD-ard or MemoryStick. Since the later two media types are pretty expensive(per GB), many users wish for a CompactFlash slot in the handhelds! However, size is the prohibitive factor for this fast and comfortable format! So, flash chips aren't the way to go.
When you look for alternatives, most people think of harddisks immediately! They are an old and known concept (since good ole' Seagate Winchester ran for the first time, a good 20 Years must have passed...). Hard Disks have already been reduced in size for portable computers and have been used in the IPOD and as so-called Microdrives for the CF slot. However, they were still way too big for a PDA. Now, however, movement comes into the market!
Around the 15th of October, Sharp shipped the Zaurus C3000 in Japan. It is the first PDA with integrated 4GB harddisk-but well, it's Linux powered and Linux apps needs lots of space anyway...
Since then, movement has come into the mobile HDD market(or the info portals concentrated on the topic). Toshiba announced 0.85 Inch Hard drives that could easily be fit into a SD card. It will come in capacities of 2 and 4 GB at first, but well-we will soon see 8GB versions of this if Moore's Law can also be aplied to memory capacity(I think that it can).
Sony also released some Microdrives with 2 and 4GB of capacity. They are CompactFlash BTW, may this be a sign of death for the MemoryStick, which exists in more than 3 different formats by now?
However, when you look at the medium prices, you make an astonishing discovery. While harddisks tend to get "cheaper" on a cash per MB-ratio with bigger capacities, Memory Cards stay more-less the same. Although the Sony HDD's are pretty expensive with prices of about 200$, they get cheaper on a per MB basis as their capacity gets higher.

So, maybe we will soon experience a bigger price fall on PDA storage cards-now that there is competition, the Flash Chip manufacturers can dictate prices that well anymore..

I am-as always-looking forward to comments!


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