Thursday, December 20, 2007

Another Giant Technology Step Forward

Intel last week announced a tiny drive called Z-P140 that could help bring the power of desktop computers to handheld devices.

The flash-memory-based hard drive, is bout the size of a thumbnail and weighs than ‘a drop of water’. It is one of the smallest on the market competing with similar chips from Samsung, which store data in gadgets such as Apple's iPod nano and iPhone.

It currently comes in two- and four-gigabyte aversions, which are available to manufacturers for use in handheld devices. The first products featuring the new chips will be available in January. However the Intel chip has been developed with a standard electronics controller built in, making it easy and inexpensive to combine multiple chips into a single, higher-capacity hard drive of 16 gigabytes today. Only two gigabytes is required to run some operating systems, such as Linux, along with software applications and it will work well with Intel processors, which make it useful for the ultramobile-PC market.

In 1999, the flash-memory market was nonexistent, but in 2007, it amounts to $15.2 billion and is expected to continue expand at pace offering much to the technology convergence and the potential one device fits all dream. One flash criticism is with respect to memory cells, which hold the electrical charges that represent data, tend to wear out quickly. However, Intel says that the new memory cell can have data written to it and erased from it up to 100,000 times and therefore no single cell gets overused.