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Seagate CEO William D. Watkins  (Source: Seagate)
Seagate's Bill Watkins doesn't see the appeal of SSDs for mobile applications

Solid-state drives (SSDs) are the holy grail of computer storage. The drives promise fast, sustained data transfer speeds, low access times, lower weight and less heat output (for mobile applications). The main downside to the technology is the extremely high price of entry.

The high prices of today's mainstream 64GB SSDs hasn't stopped companies like Dell, Apple and Lenovo from offering the drives on their laptops. Dell has offered SSDs since April 2007 and Apple's MacBook Air can be equipped with a $999 64GB SSD option. Lenovo's ThinkPad X300 and the upcoming Dell Latitude E4200 are SSD-only machines.

With SSD prices expected to drop 40% to 50% per year, the interest in the drives for other computing platforms is sure to increase.

Seagate, a company firmly entrenched in traditional hard disk drive (HDD) storage, unsurprisingly is not impressed with SSDs. "Realistically, I just don’t see the flash notebook sell," said Seagate CEO Bill Watkins. "We just don’t see the proposition."

It's understandable that Watkins would want to protect his company's investment in mobile HDDs, but it shouldn't be too difficult to appreciate the advantages on mobile platforms.

Watkins is known for making somewhat outlandish statements. In late 2006, he stated that, "Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn."

Watkins, however, has a response for SSD manufacturers should sales take off:  lawsuits. According to Fortune, Watkins is convinced that SSD manufacturers are infringing upon Seagate and Western Digital patents dealing with how storage devices communicate within a computer -- it's just a matter when the lawsuits will pop up, Gibson style.

With Intel throwing its massive weight behind SSDs, the future does indeed look bright for the storage medium. With SSDs finding their way into low-cost machines like the ASUS Eee PC on up to high-priced offerings from Apple, consumers hopefully will have more affordable SSD choices as the technology matures.





"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard



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