Friday, January 04, 2008

How 'bout that?

Me, Oct 30 2006:
The 500-gig iPod is not too far away, I think.
Hitachi, yesterday:
Hitachi's upping the notebook 2.5-inch storage game to the 500GB level...
Not quite there, yet -- the first iPods were 1.8" drives, sez Wikipedia -- but damn we're getting close.

Apparently, the record for the 1.8" category is held by Toshiba, with a 160-gig version. And apparently, you can buy the latest generation iPod in a 160-gig version.

Still, this is why I'm skeptical of people talking about how MP3s have ruined music, like that Rolling Stone article I blogged last week. The capacity to hold uncompressed, high-quality video clearly exists. On a 160-gig drive, you could hold more than 200 CDs, lossless and uncompressed. (More than 400 if you use FLAC.) And the only physical difference would be you'd have to be willing to carry around exactly the size iPod most people were wildly excited about five years ago.

The problem isn't MP3s, so much as people's dramatically changed expectations about how much music they should be able to tote around with them. And the small matter of nobody wanting to reconvert their entire libraries...

To restate another thesis: this is why trying to lock down the Internet is a sucker's game -- with a 160-gig iPod, my two feet are a "fatter pipe" than my Internet connection.

One final question: with Toshiba already introducing a desktop-sized 128-gig flash drive, at what point will flash overtake old platter HD technology? Will it happen at all, or will platter continue to stay a step or two ahead of flash?

1 comment:

aharvie said...

BitMicro is planning an 832GB SSD drive for Q3 2008. The two main barriers with SSD drives has been low capacity and high cost. The new BitMicro ones are using Multi-level cell NAND memory, which pretty dramatically increases storage density. Though I would expect that the price for this drive will be astronomical when first released (128GB drives can go for up to $4000 right now), it will eventually drop. When that happens, the lower power cost, better (in some respects) transfer rates, and lack of moving parts could make SSDs a lot more attractive than platter drives. Note that this huge drive is going to be in the 2.5" mobile form factor. Of course, platter drives will be going up in capacity as well from the ~1 TB that they have now, and will maintain the advantage of low cost for some time.

In somewhat related news, you'll probably be interested to know that Sony BMG have decided to start selling DRM free music, making them the last of the 'big 4' music distributors to drop DRM...