Seagate drives into mobile market

Seagate drives into mobile market

For the first time since it left the notebook hard disk drive market in 1998, Seagate Technology, a leader in the desktop hard disk drive market, has released a new hard disk drive for mobile computers.

Seagate has begun shipping volume shipments of the new 20GB and 40GB Momentus drive to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners, but channel partners won’t be getting their hands on the drive — at least for a while, Seagate sales and marketing director, South Asia Pacific, B.S. Teh, said.

The first priority for the vendor was “focusing on volume shipments into OEMs,” Teh said. But he agreed the company hadn’t ruled out the possibility of selling through the distribution channel if Momentus was well-received by OEMs.

Teh said the Momentus product was differentiated from its competitors by its drive speed of 5400rpm, which he claimed was achieved with “pretty much the same power consumption” as standard 4200rpm drives.

The QuietStep ramp load technology meant the drive was quieter, while it also ran “six degrees cooler than most competitor’s drives,” he claimed.

It includes a standard 2MB cache and users can also purchase an optional 8MB cache.

Seagate quit the mobile disk drive market five years ago at a time when mobile comprised only a small amount of the total disk drive market, manager of product communications at Seagate, John Paulsen, said.

The mobile market for disk drives was now the fastest growing segment of the worldwide disk drive market, a vice-president at Gartner, John Monroe, said.

“Seagate has made a timely and strategic re-entry into this market,” he said.

The 4200rpm disk drives remained most popular for notebooks but it was forecast that in the next year that 5200rpm drives would become the most desired, Paulsen said.

However, there were even faster drives on the market, but Seagate was looking to more mainstream targets, he said.

Even though Seagate has three competitors in mobile disk drives — Fujitsu, Toshiba, and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies — Monroe said its foray into this market was likely to be successful.

All three companies offer comparable drives to the Momentus, but Monroe said even with Seagate’s entry into the market the demand for mobile disk drives would exceed supply for at least the new two quarters, so there was definitely room for another player.

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