Flash memory and solid state drives offer a number of benefits over a traditional hard drive. SSDs and flash memory have no moving parts so they generate less heat, make less noise, and can be much harder to break than a hard drive with spinning platters. In many cases, SSDs are also faster than hard drives.

But there’s one area where hard drive technology still wins: It’s much cheaper. So if you want fast, sturdy storage, an SSD is the way to go. If you want a lot of storage, a hard drive or hybrid drive can be a better option… for now.

While hard drives are still quite popular in desktop and laptop computers, flash memory dominates the mobile space. But Seagate sees an opportunity to change things by offering a solution that would let tablet makers offer users 500GB of storage for music, movies, games, and other content.

seagate ultra mobile

Seagate already offers laptop hard drives that are only 5mm (less than 0.2 inches) thick. Now the company wants to make one of those drives available for tablets as well.

The Ultra Mobile HDD is a super-thin, 500GB hard drive that has 8GB of flash cache. The cache storage can help speed up boot times, multitasking, and other performance areas. But it’s the 500GB of storage that would set tablets with this drive apart from pretty much anything else on the market.

Seagate hasn’t said when its tablet drives will be available or if any tablet makers have committed to using them. But this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen Android tablets with hard drives.

The Archos 101 Gen9 tablet was available with a choice of flash storage or a 250GB hard drive, but there was no hybrid options available which would offer both flash memory and hard drive storage the way Seagate’s drives will.

Seagate says its Ultra Mobile HDD kit for tablets would allow device makers to offer more storage without sacrificing battery life. The drive is also pretty light, at just 3.3 ounces, which means that it would add some weight to a tablet, butnot very much.


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16 replies on “Seagate wants to put 500GB hard drives in Android tablets”

  1. Also the may not have a hybrid HHD but my Archos 70 250 GB has flash for the system and the hard drive is for storage

  2. I’ve had my Archos 70 250 GB for 3 years now and its been dropped once 2 years ago and still have not had a problem with it. And they also made a Archos 5it 500 GB in 2009 and still a Archos 4.8 internet tablet with 500 GB of storage

  3. But a hard disc drive can still crash!
    No, spinning discs is obesolete now when we have Nand Flash and forthcoming ReRAM,MRAM,FeRAM solid memories.

  4. Brad, watch what you’re writing… hard drives don’t win in just one area as you stated, they win in two areas: price and capacity.

  5. This will never go mainstream. Apple, Google, Amazon, etc. all want to trap you in the Cloud, THEIR Cloud.

    1. Those guys won’t even let us have SD or MicroSD slots. But there are other vendors. Samsung won’t have a problem selling these if there is demand for them.

    2. Sadly, you are absolutely correct.
      Google insists that no Nexus device can have a Micro SD-Card slot anymore!

      And the cloud is inherently unreliable for a large number of reasons. Availability depends on lots of other people. Governments can turn off and confiscate any given company’s server, the NSA has all your stuff anyway, and if you travel to where connections are sketchy, you can’t access your stuff either.

      Vote with your dollars to have your own storage for your stuff.

    3. i will never use cloud its unsafe someone wants your files bad enought they can get if they are hacker nothing is safe on net and you have payment to use cloud if you want more meory add to it how will someone use cloud if they no wifi from bad weather but portable hard drive they can use if wifi is down

    1. Let spinning memories be history now when we have Nand Flash and soon ReRAM like the Memristor and oteher types of ReRAM and MRAM and maybe ReRAM solid memories.

  6. I want this in my car…seriously, put THIS in my car’s stereo somehow and I’ll love you for life – I want to move beyond flash memory capacity.

  7. I like the idea but worry about durability. If they can make the HD robust enough this would be a great option. Think about all the movies and music you could take with you. Another question would be how does this HD effect battery life? I hope they can pull this off.

  8. Fantastic. I’ve tried to be an Archos supporter simply because they kept the hard drive tablet alive for so long… I still use my Archos 5 500GB as my daily media player in the car and at work. But the utter inferiority of their current products, combined with their abandonment of the hard drive, makes me very willing to support someone else.

    Frankly, I don’t understand the concept of the 64GB-maximum tablet at all. There’s plenty of times when you aren’t able to access streaming content, and there is plenty of media out there that isn’t streaming. Plenty of people are ripping DVDs/BDs and building home media libraries. We would like it to be portable. Obviously SSDs would be preferred, but the prices still aren’t where they need to be for practical usage in tablets.

    The marketing for HD video resolution on low-storage tablets and phones implies that the industry believes consumers walk around with a bunch of movie TRAILERS stored on their SD cards. I’ve never met anyone in my life who actually does that.

    1. I still use my 5it all the time even though it’s 32 flash but I do use my Archos 70 250 GB to take my movie collection with me and all my mp3’s. Its nice to have a device with so much storage I can hook to a TV and have more than a couple movies on it or have to carry, insert and remove a bunch of tiny SD cards

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