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Future Treo Storage

The other night a friend who runs an investment fund started telling me that he had taken a stake in a company which apparently soon promises to deliver a ‘revolutionary’ new flash storage solution. 

The company has developed a technology which can increase the storage capacity per square inch by a factor of 10 while at the same time decreasing power consumption also by a factor of 10 when compared to current storage offerings.  Treonauts could thus theoretically envisage to have 80 to 160GB SD cards by 2008 – hopefully at prices approaching those of the current maximum 2GB SD cards.

Evidently, vast storage combined with low power consumption would be ideal for mobile devices and I am rather excited at the possibilities that such a solution could offer for our Treo – particularly for multimedia such as music, movies, podcasts, audiobooks, photos but also simply to be used as a ‘portable drive’ for your business files.

Sadly, to date Palm has given absolutely no indication or even demonstrated a public interest to develop a ‘Multimedia Treo’ with 8GB+ of internal storage preferring instead to let Treonauts separately purchase as few or as many SD cards as they want for storage (I am currently edging towards 15GB but with the relative hassle of having it distributed among 10 SD cards).

I don’t know if or when Palm plans to change its position but I thought that I should nonetheless look at the currently available solutions to imagine what ‘could’ be possible: 

  • First there’s solid-state SD card flash memory at 2GB now, 4GB by the end of Q2 and 8GB by the end of the year.
  • Next comes Samsung’s NAND solid-state memory planned to start production in the second half of this year which promises to deliver 16 to 32GB memory cards.
  • Then there is Cornice’s newly announced ‘smallest and thinnest drive on the market’ with the Dragon Series of hard drives targeted at the mobile phone market with current capacities of 8GB and soon 10GB.
  • Another drive specifically designed for mobile devices is Seagate’s ST1.3 Series hard drives expected in Q3 with 12GB of storage with 30% less power consumption than current models.
  • Finally, Hitachi continues with its Microdrive tradition but with a new 20% smaller size model and now up to 8GB of storage with 40% less power consumption.

I have been dreaming about a high-storage Treo for ages and with many more options specifically designed for mobile devices becoming increasingly available I hope that we won’t have to wait much longer before we finally get to see our first multi-GB version…

Samsung NAND Memory
Cornice Series Micro Hard Drive
Seagate ST1.3 Series
Hitachi Microdrive 3K8

Treonauts are always looking for more storage

Posted by Andrew on February 23, 2006 at 12:49 PM

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by James Vanderhaeghen | Feb 23, 2006 1:57:09 PM

Wow! Flash storage increasing factor 10 overnight. That is revolutionary! It would definitely mean the end of storage using moving parts. They are cheap and fast, but will always remain power hungry and faillure sensitive in the long run.
Any chance you could share the name of that company with us?
Regards, James

by Murad Kheraj | Feb 23, 2006 4:57:35 PM

Although I am as happy as the next guy to have a PDA with large capacity storage, I would be unwilling to increase capacity with huge losses in battery power. My Treo currently lasts a whole week with my normal usage without having to recharge. If a larger capacity storage solution was available but reduced the battery power to 8 hours, I would be unwilling to take advantage of that.

by 1PhillT | Feb 23, 2006 9:36:20 PM

Transcend & A-Data both have 4gb sd cards that are being used with the T650. A Rom hack is necessary to upgrade to FAT32, but people are running with 4gb sd gear now.

by s.elements | Feb 24, 2006 10:33:44 AM

I think 4 gigs is about the max that I'd ever really NEED on my Treo...

Right now I have 25 albums on my 650(which I almost never listen to), along with 3 full-length films, and a bunch of videos, and I still have room leftover. And if I get tired of any of that stuff it's pretty easy to swap it out with something else. Anything over 4 gigs would be nice, but it'd probably also be overkill.

by s.elements | Feb 24, 2006 10:34:27 AM

And I'm not quite adventurous enough to try a custom ROM just yet. Have you tried one Andrew?

by Mark | Mar 1, 2006 11:42:16 PM

Is your friend's investment publicly traded? If so, please post!!

by Andrew | Mar 9, 2006 9:21:54 PM

Mark - the company currently wishes to remain 'under the radar' but I hope to be able to write more about it in a few months time.

Cheers, A.

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