WESTERN DIGITAL subsidiary Sandisk has revealed a prototype 1TB flash drive.
The USB-C drive isn't ready for mass production but shows, to the surprise of not that many of us, that it can be done - after all, microSD cards are getting close to the 512MB mark now.
Let's not make mistakes here. This isn't some huge shocker, at least in as much as Kingston has been producing 1TB thumb drives for years - though they weigh a ton and cost a fortune - the first ones retailed at over £1500.
In fact last year at CES, where this little doozy stems from, Kingston waved around a 2TB Kingston Datatraveler Ultimate GT - with a USB 3.0 A port. It's still available for about £1300 as it goes.
But the Sandisk effort has at least some evidence of practicality. The USB-C interface means it'll work easily on phones as well as laptops, for starters.
Thing is, flash drives are still relatively expensive. A 960GB Sandisk 2.5in drive is just shy of £258 at time of writing. A 400GB microSD is £228.49. So we'll be very surprised if this clocks in at much under £600 if it makes it to market in the near future. Which it might. Or might not. Sandisk is hedging bets on that one.
The point is, that it's all possible. There's been little doubt of that, especially with the advent of 3D-NAND allowing fabrication on the vertical as well as the horizontal.
The usual form factors for 2.5 and 3.5in drives are simply a backwards compatibility thing from the days of HDD. Open them up and almost nothing is being used, space-wise.
But the issue with Flash rollout has always been the cost of manufacture vs cost that the end user is willing to pay. Right now, there's so much demand for smaller quantities for phones and tablets, that making the more complex high capacity versions (that will by definition have a larger percentage of bad chips) uneconomical in the volumes that would make them affordable.
So, for now, let's bill and coo and admire this little eccentricity and say "one day… one day…" µ
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