Seagate: Online storage part of the picture

Emerging platform will meet users' content storage needs but not compete with hard-disk storage, says a senior company executive.

SINGAPORE--The nascent online storage will not rival hard-disk storage but instead complement it, according to a senior executive at Seagate.

"We see online storage working really closely with storage on device," said Rob Pait, director of global consumer electronics marketing at Seagate, at a media briefing held here Tuesday.

Noting that the online platform is "part of the picture" of storage, Pait said it lets businesses as well as consumers store music, videos and business documents on their own Internet server space, and download these digital content to "a device connected to the Web wherever they are".

The storage stalwart announced plans in December last year to buy over online backup services provider EVault for about US$185 million in cash. The acquisition will let the company offer data recovery and online archival services.

Pait said: "[However], at the end of it, what consumers really want is to have the storage in their hand, and not [have to be] dependent on the network connection."

"Much as we hear about all the networks being ubiquitous…fact is, we have trouble maintaining phone calls in a lot of places," he said.

"It's really bothersome to have a phone call interrupted, but it's going to be even more bothersome when you get out of range in the middle of a movie or a TV show," Pait said. "That's why local storage is important, [because] it gives a place for content to go so that it's not interrupted."

Last month, Seagate unveiled a new storage platform for mobile devices. Dubbed Digital Audio Video Experience (or DAVE), the credit card-sized storage product--which was developed, in part, out of the R&D (research and development) facility in Singapore--will be available in a wide range of sizes as well as capacities, said Pait.

Partners for DAVE announced at the 3GSM World Congress include Orange, Nokia and Symbian. The technology will also be available to telcos and mobile handset OEMs for sale under their respective brand names by the second quarter of this year, Seagate said.

Increased presence in Asia
In December last year, Seagate announced plans to open its first media substrate manufacturing plant in Asia.

To be located in Senai in the state of Johor in Malaysia, the plant will consist of a new one-story manufacturing building with a built-up area of about 44,000 square meters. It will be Seagate's third manufacturing operation in Malaysia.

The Senai plant will start production by 2008 and create 2,500 new jobs for the local community.

"The facility in Senai will be a key addition to our global operations," said Jerry Glembocki, senior vice president of Seagate’s global recording heads and media operations, in a statement.

Together with Seagate's substrate facility in Limavady, Northern Ireland, the Senai plant will supply a large portion of the company's total requirement of aluminum substrates.

Aluminum substrates form the base platter for the manufacture of recording media used in the assembly of hard-disk drives.