The hard drive market as we know it may fade away soon as NAND flash memory makers are focusing on expanding the market for their chips over the next few years. In future we'll see lots more products with this type of memory, including cell phones and notebooks.
The NAND noise will be particularly strong at the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas, with manufacturers showing off the solid-state technology as an increasingly important component in mobile phones and talking up how it will find its way into notebook hard drives in 2006.
By about the turn of the decade, NAND could even replace hard drives entirely in some mini notebooks because of the increasing amount of data the chips can hold, according to Steve Appleton, CEO of Micron Technology, one of the world's largest memory makers. Flash also takes up less space and uses less energy.
"The average notebook has 30GB (of hard drive storage). How long is it before the notebook has solid state memory? Five or six years," he said. "I'm not saying drives will go away. There will always be a need for storage, but when was the last time you tapped out a drive?"