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Could terabyte hard drives ever be given away free?

I think could that be a really good business strategy to prolong the life of the HDD market beyond 2016.
by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - June 10, 2010
A reader recently asked me for my views about prospects for the external hard drive market - typified by interfaces such as USB and FireWire - and more recently - eSATA.

If you've read any of my market forecasts you'll know that although I expect HDDs to virtually disappear from the enterprise data center by 2016 - I expect alternate uses for hard drives - mostly within the "consumer entertainment" market to keep the rotating magnetic storage market going (although with significantly reduced revenue.)

Backup doesn't offer a big future market for consumer diskmakers - because most consumers don't do proper backups.

That's now. And it could get worse - because for reasons of convenience and economy consumers may start to differentiate between backing up stuff which is unique to them (which they can do online) and deliberately choose not to backup mass produced content (like movies and games) which they have acquired from external sources.

Here's the good part for HDD product marketers...

External hard drives could become a convenient delivery media for libraries of entertainment - such as collections of movies on selected themes, collections of music etc.

This is something I wrote about as a new market opportunity 8 years ago. It hasn't happened yet - but is very close (Seagate recently started preloading movies on its HDDs). The new market depends on the ability of a new generation of product marketers to clear away obsolete impediments.

In my 2002 market model - I expected that users would go to a website (like iTunes) and select a whole library of content to be shipped on their new media player - to save them the hassle of doing it themselves. But this concept also works with external drives.

In that situation - if somebody wanted to order the complete movies of Clint Eastward / or every tv episode of Star Trek - for example - the delivery medium would be HDD. The HDD would be bundled virtually free - as it will cost less than the licensed content.

Most consumer households would buy multiple collections (one for Dad, one for Mum and about 10 for the kids) - which would create be a bigger market for HDD unit shipments than all the consumer backup in a perfect world - in which consumers became born-again SysAdmins. Which we know will never happen.

And this is an area in which SSD performance is irrelevant.

By the close of this decade (2019) the multi terabyte hard drive might be regarded almost the same way as a 4GB USB flash memory stick is today - a give-away object whose cost is much less than the value of the data which it contains.

For those detractors who might say - why wouldn't I just download and watch what I want from online sources? - I say this.

When you go on vacation - a great many desirable locations don't have internet access at all - and if they do - only in inconvenient WiFi hot spots.

And - as many holiday makers have found recently in their European travels - even if you do have an international roaming internet service in your cell phone - the cost of watching movies using those services can run into hundreds or thousands of dollars.

People like to collect stuff. - Having your own unique collection of digital artifacts makes a statement about who you are.

A handful of HDD libraries could replace thousands of optical drives which are cluttering up our shelves at home - not to mention the even bigger shelves of 33 RPM vinyl records - which some of us - for sentimental reasons still find it hard to let go.

The 1st LP I ever bought - was Led Zeppelin 2.

For me - the "hard to part with" concept also extends to thousands of books. My not very ideal storage solution for this expanding inanimate objects problem has been to live in a succession of increasingly larger homes.

That's what you might call - a "legacy" storage problem.

If I was restarting again from scratch now - I'd try to do everything digitally.

It's technically possible now - but not yet commercially viable to download most new books and print magazines - due to more than 10 years of dithering over content management and business models by the biggest print publishers.

I put my 1st book online in 1996 - and now I wouldn't dream of going back to that old paper based way of publishing the outputs from my keyboard and mouse.

Where does the author's brain fit into this output driven digital scribing process?

On some days it seems that the keyboard and mouse click away all by themselves without burdening the higher echelons of the neuro linguistic ladder with requests for input.
click to see the tv SSDs page - about movie creation, IPTV servers, set top boxes and DVRs using SSDs Aha! - This simply confirms what you suspected all along.
image for this storagesearch.com article shows Megabtyte the mouse standing outside of cake shop
The local gyms and diet clubs had teamed
up on a new promotion.
Eat as many cakes as you like - FREE!
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