Flash hard drives: four quick thoughts

Sandisk_ssdWith all of the CES and travel preparations (James is in flight this very moment), we’re a little behind from our normal posting habits. However, in all of the craziness, I didn’t want to overlook significant news from yesterday. No, not my new glasses….I’m talking about the SanDisk flash hard drive news reported by CNET.

Just some thoughts off the top of my head:

  • Watching another player join Samsung in this space is GOOD for mobile device users. Competition spurs innovation and more importantly can help drive down the price faster when there are less players in the market. Here’s hoping more manufacturers join in.
  • CNET notes that the 32 GB SanDisk drive will add $600 to the price of a mobile device. That’s also good news, not because the devices that use the drive will cost you more, but because that 32 GB option added $1,300 to a device just four months ago. Yes, this technology will cost you more, but the price premium is decreasing.
  • Aside from watching the prices go down, we really need to see the capacity increase. Of course, a 64 GB flash drive will cost more than a 32 GB drive, but that’s just the way it works. We need to see the cost per GB decrease while the capacity in GB increase…and we will.
  • As mobile users, we’ll need a new way of comparing and choosing our storage options. We can’t just sit there and say "I’m buying a standard hard drive because I can get so much more capacity for less money". There’s a subtle paradigm shift here and that’s the speed of information access with the solid state drives. There’s also the added benefit of device stability. Drop a hard drive-based device from too high a point and good bye hard drive (among other things). Flash drives have no moving parts, use less energy and access information faster, so these attributes need to be factored into the price premium. There’s still the open question (in my mind) of how many reads & writes the flash equipment can stand, but my gut tells me that I don’t keep my devices long enough for that to be a factor.

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