M-Systems Flash Disk Pioneers has announced that it has entered in an agreement with Microsoft to develop customised memory units for future Xbox products and services.
The company is known for its Smart DiskOnKey, which enables users to store anywhere between 16MB to 1GB of information on a keychain chip.
This technology could either serve as the next-generation Xbox memory unit, or as a replacement for the hard drive - nothing is definitive as of yet, as a company spokesperson for M-Systems confirmed, saying that the unit is at the "design stages of what's going to happen."
M-Systems said the memory would be based on the Smart DiskOnKey platform, share the same firmware and software components. Although the size of memory wasn't disclosed, the spokesperson did say that it would be more than the 8MB memory card the current Xbox uses.
Analysts have been speculating that the Xbox Next will not include a hard drive due to the high production costs. With Microsoft recently announcing an agreement to allow storage of users' game content on the network, and the loss that Microsoft incurs from the Xbox, it seems becoming increasingly likely that the next-generation Xbox will not have a hard drive included.
However, some upcoming games have taken advantage of the hard drive access speed to achieve smoother frame, so we may yet see the full potential of hard drives in consoles.