In what appears to be yet another monumental move in the technology industry, Seagate, already the number one manufacturer of hard drives on a global scale, has bought up the entirety of Samsung’s hard drive division in a move that will undoubtedly leave room for some important changes in the digital storage industry, as well as set them back a princely sum of US$1.3bn
As is so often the case, the big question here though is what effect will it have on the consumer? Well, we already know that solid state storage is becoming more prevalent in top of the range PC’s and Mac’s, both notebooks and desktops, and it offers a whole host of advantages over the HDDs that we have come to know and love in previous years.
They still do the job, of course, and currently on a far greater scale capacity-wise, but it seems that the only setback SSDs are facing, is cost.
So what impact will this transaction have then? Well, that money could well be, and most likely will be, redistributed into the development and manufacturing of solid state storage, as Samsung is already one of the leading suppliers of such equipment. Or it could of course be used to reimburse Apple after it’s latest foray into legal proceedings against a major rival.
Obviously with higher quantities of drives in production, we’ll see (hopefully) a dramatic fall in the cost of solid state drives to consumers, and we can all feast on delightfully fast storage internally, and hopefully soon enough externally as well with standards such as USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt inevitably becoming more common in the next few years.
At the moment, a decent 2.5″ 128GB solid state drive will set you back over £200, which is well out of most people’s price range when considering new parts for a PC, whilst its regular counterpart will cost roughly £30 depending on speed and brand. That’s a vast difference, and whilst many in the nerd community may be pushed to go that extra mile for increased performance, the publicity just isn’t out there right now for SSDs to go mainstream, as your average joe either won’t understand the difference, or won’t appreciate the benefits, almost definitely not enough to part with that sort of cash anyway.
The problem is, until the demand is there from the consumer end, the PC manufacturers may not see the benefit of ordering the SSDs from suppliers, and in turn there will be less being made. It’s a simple rule of supply and demand, the core principle that crafts a business plan, and until the knowledge and commitment of consumers is out there to SSDs, the price will remain unjustifiably high, and until that price comes down, there will be no swaying the buyers either. It’s a real life catch 22, and it sucks to be honest.
There is no doubt, though, that solid state storage is the future, just look at products like the iPad and the MacBook Air. It’s inevitable. The price will eventually be reduced, and moves such as this will only seek to hasten that bid for acceptance in the consumer marketplace, which is so far pretty non-existent.
Are you using an SSD in your computer yet? Do you appreciate the difference that it can make to your computing experience?