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Hitachi Adds 3D Photo Wall Software To Drives

7/19/2010 07:21:00 AM Eastern

SAN JOSE, CALIF. - Hitachi
Global Storage Technologies upgraded
its LifeStudio external hard drive
line with revamped software and a
new marketing philosophy.

The line consists of four SKUs,
two portable and two for the home,
with capacities ranging from 250GB
to 2TB. The drives will ship this
month with prices ranging from $79
to $219.

Azmat Ali, Hitachi’s VP consumer
marketing, said external hard drive
innovation has always been centered
on design and capacity, but with these
new models Hitachi is emphasizing
the experience the drive can deliver.

“We don’t want the drive to be just
a data dump,” Ali said. “We start
at protect and store and go to sharing
and organizing with the intent to
eliminate ‘lost sharing moment.’

”This is done
via the new
sharing software that
quickly recognizes all
photo, music
and video content
stored on
the connected
computer and
makes it available
for view on
the interface’s 3D
wal l, said Ravi
Adusumilli,
Hitachi’s global director,
sof tware and
web services.

The wall displays
the images chronologically by
year and month and allows the user
to slide down the
wall to find the
required photo.
Music and video
content is displayed
in the
same fashion.

The ability to
share photos was
also given special consideration,
said Ali.
“Social networking is
now the primary method
of sharing photos,”
Adusumilli said.

To facilitate this,
the software directly
connects with the several
social-networking sites, including
Facebook, Flickr and
Picassa. There is an icon on the 3D wall
that will push photos from the computer
directly to the social-networking site
without the need to log onto the site
each time. Once the software is giving
the initial go-ahead to access the site, it
will do so automatically in the future.

The software will also go out onto
the web and find video content on
sites like YouTube or Hulu.

In addition, it can work in reverse
by pulling down the owner’s photos,
along with the photos of their friends
that they are allowed to access, Adusumilli said.

Hitachi also made a major addition
to the hardware itself, said Ali. Two
of the four new SKU’s, one portable
and one desktop, include a detachable
4GB USB drive. These are mounted
on the front and are held in place with
a small magnet.

Ali said customers using portable
drives were concerned that they
would lose important data if they
lost or dropped their drive. Now they
have the choice of taking the entire
drive, or shifting the data needed for
the day or trip over to the USB drive
and just taking that instead.

Hitachi hopes that by creating an
external drive that does much more
than just store and back up content,
consumers will be more inclined to
buy an external hard drive.

“We found that 70 percent of people
know they should back up their
PC, but only 30 percent of those do
so,” he said.

The included backup software installs
directly off the hard drive and
allows the user to set up a backup
schedule to both the drive and to the
3GB of free online storage space supplied
by Hitachi. Additional storage
is available for a fee.

To help explain all this to in-store
customers, Hitachi has developed an
end-cap video demonstration. The
same video will be supplied to online
retailers as well, Ali said.

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