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Seagate Shows Wide-Ranging Storage Products

Seagate Technologies introduced 10 new consumer and OEM CE and PC hard-drive-based storage products that stretch across all of Seagate’s product areas, from the traditional external hard drives to the new hardened internal drives intended for use in the automotive market.

The primary theme behind the four consumer focused drives is that they are designed to work around an application and not just deliver storage capacity, said Rob Pait, Seagate’s global consumer electronics marketing director. One example of this is the upcoming 8GB CompactFlash photo hard drive that Seagate’s envisions being used in any CF-slot-equipped portable device requiring large amounts of storage, such as a digital camera. The design is an upgrade of a currently available drive being used inside such devices.

High-end digital camera enthusiasts are the most likely group that will latch onto this device, Pait said, because of the drive’s ability to hold hundreds of uncompressed 10-megapixel images. Since the photo hard drive is a mechanical device, it about 30 percent less energy-efficient than a high-capacity flash-memory card, but Pait said that is an acceptable trade- off when the amount of storage and price are taken into consideration. Although pricing will not be set until the unit ships later this summer, Pait expects to be competitive with a 2MB flash memory card.

Another new consumer device is the Pocket Drive. This disc-shaped pocket portable 5GB hard drive works in the same fashion as a USB flash-memory drive. The drive, not priced yet, is powered through the USB connection and is expected to ship for the back-to-school selling season.

For general portable backup, Seagate revamped its paperback-book-sized portable hard drive, increasing the capacity to 120GB, from 100GB. Like the Pocket Drive, it is powered through a USB/1394 cable.

The final consumer product is the newest in the company’s external hard drive line, which now has a 500GB capacity. Pricing has not been set for either drive, but Pait said they will ship this summer.

Another piece of upcoming technology Seagate is now showcasing is its EE25 Series. These models are designed for use in the automotive market. Pait said the drives are hardened to operate at temperatures from -22F to 185F and will enable the development of improved navigation and entertainment systems. After-market products that would include the 40GB EE25 are about one year away and such units will start appearing in new cars in two to three years, he said.

Seagate is also working to further reduce the size of its 1-inch internal hard drives, now found in portable music players, so they can better fit into the upcoming generation of handheld devices that combine cellphone, music and video capabilities. These drives will have storage capacities in excess of 5GB, Pait said.