Seagate intros 5mm Ultra Mobile HDD for tablets

The new thin, low-power hard drive is designed specifically for mobile devices.

An Ultra-Thin hard drive from Seagate.
An Ultra hard drive from Seagate. Dong Ngo/CNET

So far, tablets generally use flash memory as their internal storage. That's about to change.

Seagate announced today a new Ultra Mobile hard drive (HDD), designed exclusively for mobile devices. The storage vendor says the new hard drive, with up to 500GB, will enable tablets to have PC-like storage space, while offering the same reliability as does flash memory.

The Ultra Mobile HDD is integrated with Seagate's Mobile Enablement Kit that includes Seagate's Dynamic Data Driver software technology to address key areas to make it function beyond a standard laptop HDD. These areas include shock management, heat and vibration, and gyroscopic motion. Seagate says all of these have been heavily tested to ensure that the new HDD will "deliver the best experience in a tablet solution."

The HDD itself comes with an intelligent caching design that is implemented at the system level. The Ultra Mobile HDD and Dynamic Data Driver software have the power consumption equal to that of a 64GB tablet and the performance equal to that of a 16GB tablet, while costing less than either and offering much larger storage space.

The software side of the Mobile Enablement Kit provides drive protection via motion sensor and thermal monitoring algorithms that help control drive access and avoid harmful usage conditions. The drive is also very well-insulated; in case of drops, the mobile device's screen would break before the hard drive is damaged. According to Seagate, the Ultra Mobile HDD consumes very low power, just 0.14W when idle, significantly less than most solid-state drives.

Physically, the new hard drive still uses the standard 2.5-inch design, but is just 5mm thick. It weighs just 3.3 ounces. The drive is available separately or as part of the Seagate Mobile Enablement Kit. The Dynamic Data Driver software, for now, is designed to support the Android operating system.

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