IDC Weighs in on Microdrive Vs. Flash Memory Debate

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In the past year or so, the competition between miniature hard drives and Flash memory has heated up.

Everyone has heard of Palm’s LifeDrive, which has a built-in 4 GB microdrive, but many other handhelds and smartphones with gigabytes of internal Storage are in development.

And not every company is taking Palm’s route. HTC is reportedly working on a Windows Mobile phone with 4 GB of Flash memory.

Market-research firm IDC has released a report giving its opinion on the subject.

Currently, many companies are putting microdrives in their mobile devices because it’s the less expensive option. However this may change, as IDC expects that the average selling price for flash memory will decrease at a 43 percent compound annual growth rate from 2004 to 2009.

Still the company believes that price per gigabyte won’t be the sole basis for decisions. Factors such as total capacity requirements, form-factor, power consumption, weight, durability, data rates, as well as strategic OEM and storage supplier alliances, weigh heavily.

“We do not expect a ‘winner takes all’ outcome by 2008 as both storage technologies will advance through technology transitions to provide higher capacity products and focus on their respective strengths,” said John Rydning, research manager with IDC’s Storage Mechanisms: Disk Program.

More information is available in IDC’s report A Hard Choice That Won’t be Made in a Flash: HDD Versus NAND, which can be purchased on the company’s web site.

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