Low-Cost Storage Proliferates for Portable Devices

Hitachi, Maxtor and Zetera unveil at CES low-cost storage wares for home and mobile environments.

A growing number of storage vendors are rolling out low-cost storage wares designed to maximize home networking environments, mobile phones, digital video devices and enterprise ATA applications.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, Maxtor Corp. and Zetera Corp. unveiled several products designed to parlay growing numbers of portable devices that are converging with increasing numbers of consumer disk-based devices.

Hitachi GST, a subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., introduced Mikey, its new 1-inch Microdrive with capacities of 8GB to 10GB of storage and due in the second half of the year, said Bill Healey, senior vice president of product strategy for Hitachi GST, based in San Jose, Calif. Tailored for handheld devices and featuring shock protection and a new ZIF (zero insertion force) connector used by CE device manufacturers to ease integration, the product is 20 percent smaller and enables up to 40 percent reduction in power consumption over Hitachi GSTs existing Microdrive product.

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Hitachi GTS also unveiled Slim, its larger-storage-capacity, 1.8-inch disk drive featuring a 30 percent size reduction. Also due later this year, Slim will come in one- and two-disk versions, offering 30GB, 40GB and 60GB of storage, respectively. Applications benefiting from Slim include external storage, subnotebooks, tablet PCs, high-capacity portable video and audio devices, and navigation devices.

"It is the consumer using these new applications, when they go from very small devices for portability to home environments, where they want to store their [various types of] content," said Healey. "Were really seeing that need for greater capacity."

For its part at CES, Maxtor focused on the expected storage explosion affecting the home networking arena by unveiling its Maxtor Shared Storage Solution. The product comes with a 200GB or 300GB storage capacity and includes two USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports to connect and share two USB printers or two additional storage drives, said officials of Maxtor, based Milpitas, Calif.

Zetera launched its company and product designed for digital products at CES. Residing anywhere on a network, Zetera storage offers controllerless IP storage for lower costs than iSCSI or Fibre Channel options by using IP multicast to achieve sharing, spanning and RAID without specialized hardware or the need for additional controllers, said officials of Zetera, based in Irvine, Calif.

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