I'm always fascinated when an electronic device designed for use in one type of product changes to such an extent that it can be used in many other products. Take the hard disk drive as an example. Back in the early 1980s, a hard disk drive was this big clunky thing that sat in a PC and held about five megabytes of data. I don't think many people back then could have envisioned the different ways hard disks are used today.
Take the Apple iPod, for example. Apple Computer realized early on the potential benefit of putting a hard drive into a mass-market consumer audio product. The success of this idea is now legendary and has completely changed the fortunes of this company.
In last year's February issue, one of our cover items showed a hard disk sitting on a fingertip—not so clunky anymore. It was a Toshiba device with a capacity of four gigabytes. Breakthroughs such as this and similar drives usually give rise to novel applications. Some that come readily to mind are hard drive-based PDAs, camcorders, and even cell-phones. And for plain old backup storage applications consider the palm-sized, 4-GB USB hard drive from a company called BTC (www.btc.com.tw). Four gigabytes of backed up data in the palm of your hand ain't too shabby.
And just last month Seagate Technology revealed a prototype hard disk digital voice recorder from Sanyo that employs Seagate’s 5-GB, 1" ST1 Series hard drive. Sanyo’s digital voice recorder provides up to 346 hours of recording time and has a compact body weighing only 93 grams. In my business, I could sure use one of those.
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Company: Penton Media Inc.
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