Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Thursday 9/06/2005 Who on earth wants 160GB drives for a laptop? That would be me, then.

Thursday 9/06/2005

Who on earth wants 160GB drives for a laptop? That would be me, then. Also my parents, most of my friends and, I guess, you too. So Seagate’s latest hard drives, using longitudinal recording to pack its little rice-grains of data onto the disk end on rather than flat out, should be popular.

Actually, I don’t want the drive for my laptop. I want it for my iPod (which is now so full, I’ve had to give up podcast downloads), my digital camera (which can create a gig of data in an hour), my personal video recorder (which I don’t yet own), my PC and my laptop. The digital media revolution -- and I don’t think that’s a cliché -- has come along at a time when we’re more mobile than ever before. Not only do we have more gigs of personal data than entire governments had forty years ago, but we want to take them with us and share them between multiple devices (and multiple friends. Shh).

I used to think it would be a good idea to have a little wireless storage device -- hard disk, battery, radio network -- that could just sit around the place and talk to anything that created or consumed data. I now think that this is imperative.

Two things need to happen to make this work: ultrawideband and agreed ways of sharing data. We could have standard versions of both tomorrow, if we wanted, were it not for the turf battles going on between various vested interests trying to defend old empires against the threat of the new.

But it will happen. My money’s on Apple to do it either first or best, as part of a drive into that infamous digital home, but don’t overlook the possibility of a consortium of Far Eastern companies, high on open source and tired of playing second fiddle to marketeers from Europe and America, sneaking in under everyone’s radar. Five years time? We’ll have a terabyte in a cigarette packet, talking to everything in the house and quite a lot outside. And Seagate will sell more disks then than it’s ever done before.