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Seagate launches 500GB ultrathin hard drive for tablets, blurs PC lines

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Seagate today took the wraps off a hard drive designed for tablets that brings 7x the storage capacity of a 64GB device with the same performance as a Flash drive.

The drive, the Seagate Ultra Mobile HDD, uses software to boost performance. The idea is that Android tablet manufacturers will use the Seagate drive, along with the company’s mobile enablement kit and caching software, to up the storage.

The 2.5-inch drive is 5 mm thin and weighs 3.3 ounces. As for capacity, the drive has 500GB—enough for 100,000 photos and 125,000 songs.

In a statement, Steve Luczo, CEO of Seagate, said the company is hoping that the thin hard drive will be sold as a value add to mobile devices and allow them to “re-think the mobile market.”

To keep tablets light and thin, storage is typically Flash powered. The problem is that storage capacity is well below what a PC would carry. Should Seagate succeed with its mobile device drive, tablets would be seen as a more direct competitor with PCs. That outcome may be challenging for the PC market, which is already being thumped by tablets.

The mobile Seagate drive is optimized for tablet uses and are able to manage shock, heat, vibration and gyroscopic motion. The mobile enablement kit includes a dynamic data driver and reference designs that would lower tablet costs since hard drives are cheaper than solid state versions.

What’s unclear is how many tech buyers would go for the drive as an option. The most likely customers would be people that basically use their tablets as a PC replacement. In either case, the PC and tablet lines are likely to blur with a push by Seagate’s storage options.

The specs on the drive include 500GB capacity, a SATA 6GB/s interface, 16MB cache and spin speed of 5400RPM. This model is currently unavailable for purchase on Seagate.com.

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Source: Associated Press

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