The hard disk drive industry has been going through a serious rough patch since the floods in Thailand last year, with residual effects likely hampering the market for the next several quarters.
Nevertheless, despite sluggish sales and production, hard drives continue to dominate the laptop market when compared with the alternative: solid state drives.
A new report from market intelligence firm IHS iSuppli found that notebook models with a storage allotment larger than 500GB and priced from $450 to $550 accounted for the most market share at 32 percent.
Actually, solid state drives only accounted for a sliver of the market share, according to IHS analysts, as the remaining 3 percent of the pie went to notebooks with 128GB SSDs or high-end laptops priced at $900 or more.
Fang Zhang, an analyst for storage systems at IHS, argued in the report that laptop models that run on solid state drives, such as the MacBook Air, don't actually pose much of a threat to the HDD-based notebook market -- at least not yet.
SSD-equipped notebooks are faster, more lightweight and sport a thinner profile—some of the characteristics that make them popular and desirable to consumers—but they are also more expensive and feature less overall storage space. The price of a MacBook Air with just a 64GB solid state drive can reach $999, while an HDD-based notebook PC at that price can boast significantly larger storage space.
Nevertheless, higher-end tablets that are on par (if not better) than some laptops could present a shift in the market. In fact, IHS hints that change could happen in as quickly as a few months with the release of the Microsoft Surface tablet, although there wouldn't be numbers proving that theory one way or another until at least 2013.
Furthermore, IHS analysts also asserted it would also depend on the storage capacity options offered with the Microsoft Surface. Nevertheless, with the amount of personal cloud storage options available, local storage size might not be as much of a concern for consumers or enterprise customers in the near future. The real determinants would more likely be the price and the other features available on the tablet or laptop.