CES Report: Storage!


I didn't get a chance to meet with many storage-related folk at CES this year. And it's not for any lack of trying. No, it's just that most of the drive companies launched their big news pre-trade-show. I've already covered Hitachi's big 500GB notebook drive announcement -- well, go figure, Samsung has also announced a competing 500GB notebook. The Spinpoint M6 will use three 166GB platters to hit the half-terabyte mark. Unlike Hitachi's 12.5mm-high drive, the M6 will still fit the industry-standard capacity of 9.5mm. Awesome. Look for it sometime in the first half of 2008, provided Hitachi hasn't grabbed the pitchforks and torches and tried to burn Castle Seagate to the ground.

Western Digital didn't have anything new to show that we weren't already aware of -- same ol' MyBooks and Passports. It did note that it's offering skins for the MyBook series of drives, which can transform your semi-dull MyBook exterior into a rocking replica of, say, your NCAA fandom. Which is somewhat moot, given the tragic football season is over, but I digress. Yay Western Digital -- we eagerly await possible future announcements regarding the company's Raptor line of drives.

A grim-faced Toshiba showed off its 320GB, 5400RPM notebook drive, but had nothing to say about a potential 500GB model of its own. They believe the market's clamoring for smaller-sized devices, and look to branch their tiny drives as much as possible: already the company's seeing some traction in the automotive market, for example.

Toshiba was able to show off its new line of portable drives. They look pretty similar to every other portable drive on the market nowadays -- that Western Digital Passport-style design of a sleek, 2.5" enclosure matched with a crazy color. In this case, Toshiba's launching drives in green, red, and gray varieties at both 320 and 160GB of storage space.

Seagate paraded out its usual offerings, including the FreeAgent Pro and its similarly named siblings. We were thus quite excited when we saw a new product gracing the booth -- Seagate's BlackArmor external drive. The 160GB device, available in the second quarter of this year for $150, comes with a quaint little catch. When you USB-connect it up to your computer, it prompts you for a password. Miss the password three times, and the device automatically starts nuking your data all government-grade encryption style. Note to self: change password to "password," just in case.

We would pay extra for said pretty blue light to turn a flashing, destructive red if you've messed up two of your three password-typing attempts.

The company also showed off a working version of it's beautifully named DAVE portable storage device. This one's a killer: it can connect to devices using a ton of protocols (USB, Bluetooth 2.0 EDN, 802.11b/g), and gives them a means for portable storage and media retrieval. You can stream music and videos to your iPhone via a little web interface, and your nearby buddies can similarly stream media to their devices at the same time . The possibilities for this 60GB wonder are rather endless, provided you don't run out of battery life. Seagate's currently shooting for 10 hours of continuous use, or 14 days' worth of standby operation. Look for the DAVE to hit in the third quarter of 2008.

The DAVE has a built-in shutoff mechanism, ensuring that it'll power down when your streaming is complete. Take that, wasted batteries.

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