Severe flooding in Thailand forced Western Digital to temporarily close shop in its Bangkok facilities last week, and now that it's had time to assess the damage, things aren't looking so great. Western Digital issued a statement updating the situation today and said it expects the flooding to impede the company's ability to fulfill product demand through the end of the year.
We've been duly impressed with Western Digital's media streamers, handing out high marks to both the WD TV Live and WD TV Live Hub in our reviews (here and here), each one falling just short of a Kick Ass award. Maybe Western Digital can get over the hump with the introduction of its next generation WD TV Live player, the first in its category to come with Spotify baked in, the company claims.
For those of you who always dreamed about having your own cloud, Western Digital wants to make your dreams come true with its new WD 2go and WD 2go Pro mobile apps for its My Book Live personal cloud storage solution. The part about dreams is admittedly cheesy (and we're to blame for that one), but as far as the personal cloud goes, that's what Western Digital envisions as you remotely connect to your My Book Live drive from any computer or through your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, or compatible Android device.
It used to be that if you were looking to put together a high end rig with as few compromises as possibles, you rolled with a Western Digital Velociraptor. Today enthusiasts are more likely to opt for a solid state drive when looking to address the storage bottleneck at any cost, but this shift in power hasn't yet rendered the Velociraptor extinct (or if it has, somebody forget to tell Western Digital).
It wasn't that long ago the largest notebook hard drive you could buy was 500GB. Now here comes Western Digital with its newly announced WD Scorpio Blue 1TB hard drive for mainstream notebooks, and it isn't even the first of its kind. It is, however, one of just two 1TB hard drives built around the industry standard 9.5mm, 2.5-inch form factor (Samsung's Spinpoint M8 being the other) instead of the 12.5mm thickness standard, which means it's compatible with nearly all existing laptops.
It's probably not a good idea to go charging through traffic on foot with your My Passport portable hard drive clutched under your arm like a football, nor should you toss it around like one with a buddy. But in case you do find yourself in situations where drops, moisture, or even spills might occur, Western Digital's offering a bit of extra protection with its new WD Nomad rugged case, a durable enclosure that will keep your drive protected from drops as high as seven feet.
There are some immutable laws of the natural world. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Anything that can go wrong, will, and at the worst possible time. And finally, any tech discussion involving Gordon and Nathan will inevitably turn into a debate about Star Wars. Andy and Alan join Gordon and Nathan in Episode 169 of the No BS, Some Star Wars Podcast to discuss a new Gigabyte X58 board, AMD's dual-GPU Radeon HD 6990 "Antilles," and (perhaps inevitably) Wedge Antilles' raison d'etre as a starfighter pilot. Also, Western Digital buys Hitachi GST, the future of storage, and incredible feedback from Alan's stupid Mac microphone. With a bonus appearance by former boot and Maximum PC editor and current Maximum Tech editor Mike Brown!
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are not standing by.
Western Digital and Seagate have been jockeying for the top spot in the global hard drive market, and the two swapped places in 2010. According to data provided by The Information Network, Seagate's market share dipped from 31.2 percent in 2009 to 29.9 percent in 2010, while Western Digital went from 29.6 percent to 31.4 percent in the same time frame. Hit the jump to find out how WD managed to leapfrog Seagate, and how the rest of the HDD market is shaping up.
There's no question solid state drives (SSDs) are fast, especially now that the latest controllers have all but eliminated the stuttering problem that plagued first generation drives. The problem is SSDs are still expensive, forcing system builders to choose between performance (SSD) or storage space (HDD). Western Digital recently acknowledged as much during a recent conference call with financial analysts, XbitLabs reports.
"We have taken a look at and in fact shipped product in the SSD, in the client environment, and we do not find a compelling value proposition there either for manufacturer or for customer because the economics do not work," said John Coyne, chief executive officer of Western Digital. "The cost of the storage/performance is too high."
There was some hope that SSD pricing would have dropped by now, and while it has somewhat, the more popular trend seems to be to release lower capacity SSDs that cost less and market them as boot drives. The price-per-gigabyte ratio is still high, prompting Western Digital to consider hybrid drives as an alternative.
"We also continue to evaluate the opportunity to combine rotating magnetic storage with flash into hybrid solutions... We look at client environment and look at what might be an attractive offering that combine the best of both worlds in terms of performance of solid state with the capacity of rotating media," Coyne explained.
This, Coyne says, would "provide an accessible price point," but would also need operating systems to play ball with native support. According to Coyne, hybrid solutions are "not really supported well today," but could be in the next couple of years.
Western Digital on Tuesday reported revenue of $2.475 billion for its second fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2010. That's down slightly from one year ago, in which WD posted $2.619 billion, but the hard drive maker isn't complaining.
"We are pleased to deliver better-than-expected revenues, profitability, and gross margin in the December quarter, reflecting solid execution and an improvement in hard drive industry conditions compared with the prior two quarters," said John Coyne, president and chief executive officer. "The opportunity for profitable growth in our industry remains tremendous and we are committed to improving our financial performance over the longer term. We plan to do so with a continued emphasis on our industry-leading low-cost structure, high quality, highly reliable and highly available products, and a sharp focus on matching production with true customer demand."
Western Digital shipped 52.2 million hard drives during its second fiscal quarter, which contributed $225 million. During the same quarter in 2009, WD shipped 49.5 million hard drives.