At present, cell phones with hard drives are rare in the United States. Sure, there are quite a few available in Asia, but it's no surprise that the U.S. cell phone market has always been a bit behind our overseas counterparts. There's definitely a need for more storage in cell phones here, especially as they take on more and more functionality. If you can cram a quality MP3 player into a cell phone, more power to you, but if you don't include enough memory, its usefulness is limited. Take the: Sure, it's a pretty phone, but with 50MB of integrated storage and no external memory slot, it doesn't provide enough space.
In the not-too-distant future, however, we may see some handsets with hard drives arrive on U.S shores. Seagate, a California-based hard drive manufacturer, introduced last week a new 12GB hard drive that measures just 1.6 by 1.2 by 0.2 inches. Seagate says the small size makes the ST1.3 perfect for feature-rich cell phones that need more storage space. The company also added a drop sensor that can increase durability by detecting when a phone is in free-fall, then compensating for the coming shock. The hard drive sounds like a great idea, but as with any new technology, it's liable to be pricey in its first incarnations. Seagate says the ST1.3 will be commercially available by the third quarter of this year. Hopefully, we'll see it included in cell phones soon after the rollout.