Seagate Technology plans to release at least a dozen new products before years end in a bid to smother the available market, a top executive said Tuesday. Seagates plans include the companys first 1-inch drive as well as a massive 500GB drive designed for near-line storage.
Almost all of Seagates new products will be released in the third and fourth quarter, a combination of the development time needed for the new platforms as well as preparation for the lucrative selling season.
Seagates new announcements will cover the server, desktop PC, notebook, and consumer markets. In January, Seagates executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing, Brian Dexheimer, said Seagate would enter a “tactical period” until the fall, surviving on pricing moves until the new products were introduced. Because pricing is such a critical lever in the market, Seagate executives said Tuesday that they will not decide upon final pricing for the new products until much closer to launch.
Seagate will formally announce the drives on Monday, Pait said.
The explosion of product lines is a marked change from Seagates conservatism from 2000 until 2002, when the companys software division was purchased from Veritas Software Corp. and the remainder of the company went private. For example, a Seagate division announced an external hard drive in 2001, but the product quietly died. After Seagates IPO in 2003, however, company executives re-entered the mobile drive market and have now expanded into the 1-inch market currently controlled by Hitachi Global Storage Technologies and Toshiba Ltd.
“The strategy is that weve invested for a number of years in a hard drive for the desktop, and a hard drive for the enterprise platform,” said Rob Pait, senior director of consumer electronics marketing for Seagate. “Now were developing a common platform of drives for different applications.”
More external hard
drives on tap”> This fall, Seagate will expand from its core base of desktop and server drives with a line of external hard drive solutions, more of its Momentus 2.5-inch drives, as well as the new 1-inch platform, which will also appear in a CompactFlash form factor designed for digital cameras and PDAs. Seagate also plans to ship products in five enterprise drive categories, including one model with a Serial Attached SCSI interface.
The 1-inch, 3,600-RPM drive will be known as the ST1 series, and available in either 2.5- or 5GB capacities for the embedded market, as well as within the CompactFlash Type II form factor. Seagate also plans a 1-inch external USB “pocket drive”, a first for the industry, which will combine the convenience of USB memory keys with the capacity of rotating media.
Seagate has specifically designed the chassis and drive of the 1-inch drive to withstand the day-to-day jouncing of everyday life, Pait said, with a technology called “RunOn”. The drive uses some predictive algorithms to try and predict the path of the read head over the disk media, eliminating skipping.
“If you take a hard-disk-drive-based player, like the (Apple) iPod and strap it to your arm and run with it, it really messes up the drive with the wide range of motion youre using,” Pait said. “After the buffer in the (drive) empties out, thats it. Ive known people that have had to drain the battery and do a hard reset to get the drive running again.”
In part because of the RunOn technology, five portable music player OEMs plan to release products based on the Seagate drives as early as the third quarter, when Seagates drive will begin shipping. Seagate also plans to ship a 3.5-inch, 7,200-RPM DB35 drive optimized for PVRs, with capacities up to 400GB.
: half-terabyte drives “> On the desktop, Seagate plans to ship a 400GB 7200-RPM Barracuda drive in the third quarter, paving the way for a half-terabyte PC drive sometime in the future. In addition to the 1-inch external drive, Seagate plans external hard drives containing 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives; the 2.5-inch External Drive will contain a 5,400-ROM, 40GB drive, while the 3.5-inch model will feature 7,200-RPM drives at 250-, 300-, and 400GB capacities. The 2.5-inch line will be refreshed with a 100GB capacity point in the spring, Pait said.
The first 2.5-inch External Drives will ship in the third quarter, while the 3.5-inch models will ship in the fourth quarter.
Seagate will also continue to expand its Momentus line of 2.5-inch drives. Seagate will ship a 7,200-RPM line of drives for mobile workstations, at 60-, 80-, and 100GB, as well as a similar 5,400-RPM line. The slower 5,400-RPM models will be introduced first, in the third quarter, while the faster 7,200-RPM parts are due a quarter later.
In the enterprise space, Seagates offerings will generally emphasize spindle rate or capacity, but not both. The exception will be the Cheetah 10K.7, a 10,000-RPM drive with capacities up to 300GB due in the third quarter.
Otherwise, Seagate will ship the Barracuda 7200.8 and NL35 for the server and near-line storage markets, respectively, at 400- and 500GB capacities, in the third and fourth quarters. The 500GB NL35 uses only three disk platters, Pait said. The Cheetah 15K.4 will represent Seagates only 15,000-RPM offering; at capacities from 36- to 147GB, the drive is due in the third quarter using Fibre Channel, Serial ATA, or Serial Attached SCSI interfaces. Seagates 2.5-inch Savvio drive will ship in the third quarter at 36- and 73GB capacity points, and will also include a Serial Attached SCSI interface.