If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you’re pretty savvy about solid state drives; you might even own one (or a few). If you do, you’ve probably tried to tell your less-techie friends and family why they should replace their hard drive with an SSD—and you know that the general population still doesn’t quite get it. That slow public acceptance is true for almost any technology—there needs to be a defining change that sparks the imagination of the average person. When that happens, they may not be any closer to understanding how the technology works (plasma TVs are a great example of this), but they know they want it, and they know why. For SSDs, I think we’re right on the cusp of that breakthrough. Here’s why:
Reason 1: mSATA SSDs will open new PC design potential
We announced an update to our C400 RealSSD™ product line this week; the addition of an mSATA form factor. Micron’s mSATA is built on the architecture of our existing C400 drive, so it delivers the same high performance and Micron reliability. What’s different is the size—it’s about a third the size of a business card, so it weighs just 10 grams, and there’s no case. What’s great about mSATA is that it’s finally unleashing the full potential of SSDs. Up to now, most SSDs have been sold in a 2.5” case—a form factor that was built to make SSDs fit into hard drive slots. With mSATA, we have a standardized form factor that minimizes the storage footprint, allowing for sleeker, high performance laptop designs.
Reason 2: Ultrabook™ platforms will make SSD benefits apparent to average users
If you haven’t seen many ultrathin laptops, you will very soon. Intel launched a massive ad campaign about the platform this weekend, and a lot of other OEMs are creating their own ARM-based or AMD versions of the same concept. While features vary, they share a few general design targets: • High-performance, instant-on responsiveness • Slim industrial design • Ultra-mobile: Lightweight and durable • Long battery life All of these features depend (at least in part) on the key benefits that an SSD provides. When consumers buy these new systems, they’ll be introduced to the advantages of solid-state storage. And if you’ve used a laptop with a good SSD, you know that they won’t want to go back to a hard drive—the user experience is just that much better. The market data we’re projecting supports that growth. As you can see from the charts below, our analysts see ongoing gains for mobile computers, especially tablets and ultrathin devices. Even more interesting is how disproportionately these two categories will drive NAND shipments, largely because tablets and ultrathins depend on the size, power, and performance benefits of Flash storage to do what they do. Needless to say, it’s a great time to be at the world’s leading NAND developer; I’m excited about what’s coming on our roadmaps and how new products like the C400 mSATA will bring the benefits of Flash based storage to an even wider audience. So a year from now, when your mom asks you what an SSD is, maybe you can simply say, “It’s what makes you like your new computer so much.
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