First Smartphone with a Hard Drive Announced

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While smartphones with less than 100 MB of Storage are considered the state of the art, there are MP3 players on the market with 40 GB of Storage capacity. The reason MP3 players can store so much is they have a tiny hard drive inside of them, while smartphones depend entirely on memory chips.

At least, that was true until this week, when Samsung announced the SPH-V5400, the first smartphone with a built-in hard drive.

Samsung SPH-V5400 This device will be available only in South Korea, and the hard drive can only hold 1.5 GB of data, but it is a start. More smartphones with hard drives are expected to eventually be released.

A Difficult Task

Smartphone makers have found putting a hard drive into their products a formidable challenge.

One problem has been the fact that hard drives are inherently more fragile than solid-state memory chips. Smartphones are expected to survive if dropped for 1.5 meters, a goal miniature hard drive makers have found difficult to accomplish.

Also, even miniature hard drives are relatively large components. Many mobile phone buyers are looking for a model that is as small as possible, and a hard drive can add significantly to the thickness of a device.

Also, a hard drive can use as much power as a Wi-Fi CompactFlash card, significantly shortening the battery life of a smartphone.

It isn’t known how Samsung overcame these difficulties to create the SPH-V5400. It’s possible it simply accepted them, and made a relatively large, fragile device with a short battery life. More will be known when this smartphone is released in South Korea next month.

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