'Yoyo' storage device still has room to grow

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 November, 2004, 12:00am

With more digital content being used at work or leisure, consumers face almost the same data-management issues that businesses have had to deal with for decades.

Many of us have digital cameras and MP3 players that generate enormous amounts of data. With digital video, the amount of space we need to hold all this information could get out of hand.

All that represents a huge market segment that hard disk drive maker Seagate Technology has set its sights on capturing. Last week, the company released a new line of storage devices designed to help consumers gain control over their digital data.

The most prominently marketed of these new products is the USB 2.0 Pocket Hard Drive. Seagate claimed this was the world's first external hard drive small enough for consumers to fit in their pockets or throw in a backpack.

No arguments here. This little gem is based on Seagate's one-inch hard disk technology, which will soon be found in all kinds of handheld systems such as MP3 players, digital cameras and personal digital assistants.

The Pocket Hard Drive, also called the 'yoyo' drive because of its shape, is safely encased in a sleek, round shell. It is available in 2.5-gigabyte and 5GB capacities, both adequate to transport or temporarily backup data.

The most popular Universal Serial Bus flash memory modules at present can hold about 512 megabytes. That is not bad, but still not quite as good as 5GB.

Flash memory is nice, but we are generating so much digital information that it is not big enough. It will not be long before even 5GB seems small.

The Pocket Hard Drive's small design and high shock tolerance makes it as convenient as the typical USB 'thumb' drive. I watched a demonstration where someone dropped the device on the floor, but it kept on working.

Thanks to current advances in technology all these small storage devices can be attached to various PCs, Macintosh or Windows, and work instantly. Still, there is plenty of work to be done as people accumulate more and more digital information. Imagine, for example, a case in which a bunch of Seagate yoyo drives is regularly used in a household. That would amount to tens of gigabytes worth of information. How will you organise all that data?

Seagate Technology USB 2.0 Pocket Hard Drive


Price: $1,588

Pros: Small, light and sturdy, with plenty of room to hold or transfer data

Cons: Expect bigger capacity, portable consumer storage devices to be out soon