Seagate rethinks tablet storage with 500GB hard drive

By on September 9, 2013, 11:30 AM

Seagate has unveiled a new hard drive designed specifically for tablets that promises to deliver a wealth of storage with the same performance that flash memory delivers. Known as the Ultra Mobile HDD, Seagate’s latest uses software to boost performance on Android tablets by using a caching technique.

In a statement on the subject, Seagate president and CEO Steve Luczo said coupling an ultra-thin, high-capacity HDD with software designed to optimize integration into tablets at a low price has allowed them to deliver a truly ground-breaking solution. It’s something he believes will allow the industry to rethink the mobile market.

The HDD is 5mm thin and weighs just 3.3 ounces (about the same as a light bulb). At 500GB, which is seven times more than a traditional 64GB tablet, it is said to be enough to hold up to 100,000 photos, 62 hours of high-definition video and movies or 125,000 songs. The drive uses the SATA 6GB/sec interface with 16MB cache and a 5,400 RPM spindle speed.

The software uses enhanced motion sensor and thermal monitoring algorithms to control drive access and avoid conditions that might damage the drive. It also uses Seagate’s own Zero Gravity Sensor for better shock management. The company says the drive is so well insulated that in many cases, a dropped device’s screen would break before the hard drive.

The Seagate Ultra Mobile HDD will be available separately and as part of the Seagate Mobile Enablement Kit. No word yet on which manufacturers will be the first to implement the new technology, however.

User Comments: 11

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General Sam General Sam said:

I see the main issues with this would be being prone to damage, possible vibrations on the tablet itself, noise, extra heat, it'll get slower with the more data it stores.

Things that solid state disks are much better at handling.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Don't forget the battery consumption

EEatGDL said:

Yeah, but if someone cares about capacity, there's a viable solution. Read again the last line of the 4th paragraph; tablets and smartphones get slower anyway the more data they store because the system scans all the applications on startup and it takes a while. If Android gets properly conditioned to defragment it, there should be not much problem.

And tablets and smartphones use flash memory, not SSD drives, so the performance difference is not that big between the flash memory and that HDD.

RenGood08 RenGood08 said:

Would this mean a bulkier device?

ikesmasher said:

Moving parts. They need to make these things REALLY shock proof.

Ultraman1966 said:

Have a large SSD cache, about 16 to 24GB and that should smooth things out. Also, stop using ounces, they went out of fashion like a century ago...

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

it'll get slower with the more data it stores.

Things that solid state disks are much better at handling.

Only you have it backwards. :P SSD's require free space for garbage collection and slow down considerably if they are near-full. HDD's don't have such a pronounced problem.

dikbozo said:

In the 15+ tears I have been building desktop machines in a wide variety if cases for an equally wide variety of purposes, I have never heard of, done it myself or even read about an HDD being dropped and broken. Thrown very hard is another thing. This thread has good posts in it :


As the new Seagate has a circuit to detect falling it 'should' help if one were to toss the gadget and safely park the read/write heads. I tend to agree with the writer's assertion that the screen would likely break well before the HDD. I have seen far too many broken screens to be in any position to argue against it and replacing screens for all types of gadgets is a burgeoning cottage industry.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

In the 15+ tears I have been building desktop machines
LOL, sad story! Haha

TheBigFatClown said:

I am not sure this technology is even worth pursuing for the little gains it would yield and the possible complications it would add to the technology. I would rather have a solid 4TB hard disk drive that was 100% reliable versus a 5TB hard drive that was based upon shaky technology.

The article doesn't give me much faith in the stability of this technology I guess. We have seen these type of incremental improvements in the technology industry before. I guess this appears to be more an optimization strategy similar to the TRIM feature of SSDs. Nothing ground breaking. I want nothing that compromises stability and mtbf on anything that stores my data.

1 person liked this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Nice. A tablet with a gyroscopic feeling. That's a lot better than some games.

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