Cloud computing has slow rolled its way into our everyday lives, and these days we rely on the cloud for more services than ever. The cloud changed the way we buy games (Steam, for example) and watch movies and TV shows (hello Netflix and Hulu), but is the death of the optical disc drive nigh? Not as far as Sony and Panasonic are concerned. Rather than write optical's obituary, the two firms are working together to create optical discs with recording capacity of at least 300GB by the end of 2015.
The latest sign that optical disc drives (ODDs) are increasingly viewed as obsolete technology is the fact that Sony has decided to pull out of the market completely. Intense competition and rock bottom prices led to Sony's decision to withdraw from the market, and given the rise of cloud-based services and digital distribution platforms, we wouldn't be surprised if other players stopped making ODDs, too.
Having to lug around bulky accessories and peripherals with your Ultrabook or tablet PC kind of negates the whole idea behind thin and light form factors. At the same time, some people find an external optical disc drive (ODD) to be an essential companion, and if you're one of those people, you may want to slap Samsung with a high-five for announcing its new SE-218BB external DVD writer.
Years ago a single- or double-speed CD-ROM drive without burning capabilities would set you back several hundred dollars. And today? A twenty-dollar bill buys you a high-speed DVD burner. Even Blu-ray drives aren't all that expensive anymore. Are optical drives on their way out? With ubiquitous broadband, streaming media, cloud storage, and digital downloads taking over, that could very well be the case, and it's already happening in the mobile world.
HLDS (Hitachi-LG Data Storage) might be onto something here. The company just introduced its second generation SSD/ODD hybrid drive with SATA 6Gpbs support, giving laptop and all-in-one (AIO) owners an easy upgrade path to SSD.
"We are very excited about the potential of this ground-breaking product. Once the Hybrid Drive is loaded in all PC products, including AIO, mini PC, and notebook, a new solution will be provided for user classes who were previously unsure of purchasing an SSD. And our Hybrid Drive also enable a smaller PC footprint (under 12-inch tablet PCs such as the Ultra Mobile PC, for example) by removing the HDD or SSD from the motherboard and just having the Hybrid Drive with SSD as its primary storage," stated HLDS Chief Marketing Officer YK Park.
The beauty of a hybrid ODD/SSD is that many notebooks and nearly all netbooks ship with a single drive bay, while larger notebooks typically ship with two bays at best. That can make upgrading to an SSD a tough proposition -- do you really want to swap out your 500GB HDD for a 64GB SSD?
HLDS's second-gen Hybrid Drive sidesteps the issue by incorporating a speedy SSD into the optical drive, which can then be used independently or in tandem with the existing HDD as a hybrid SSD/HDD solution somewhat similar to Silverstone's HDD Boost.