TechEd 2006: Hybrid hard drives to become Vista Premium requirement

Boston (MA) - At a discussion of flash memory technologies to be included in Windows Vista and "Longhorn" here at TechEd 2006 this morning, Microsoft's program manager for Windows Client Performance Matt Ayres confirmed to TG Daily that inclusion of hybrid hard drives will be a requirement for mobile systems that carry the Vista Premium logo, beginning in June 2007.

In the Windows Logo Device Program Requirements document, version 3.01, quietly released by Microsoft last Friday, storage requirement #0005, whose description has typically read, "Hybrid disk drives or systems that implement a hybrid disk drive must meet the requirements outlined here," is now followed by this phrase: "This requirement will go into effect for premium mobile systems in June 1 2007."

As Ayres told TG Daily, hybrid hard drive manufacturers Samsung and Seagate, as well as other manufacturers which Microsoft works with, but whose names have not yet been formally announced, have been informed of the company's decision to make hybrid drive inclusion a mandatory element for mobile systems next year. Sources tell TG Daily that major manufacturers were informed that Microsoft had plans to implement this requirement as far back as November 2005. Draft requirements documents dates last year specifically refer to the requirement, though later drafts rephrased their language to "if-implemented" status.

The public reinstatement of this requirement comes just a few days - perhaps not coincidentally - after Seagate confirmed it will be the second manufacturer to offer hybrid drives for notebook computers. Samsung and Seagate have committed to produce hybrid drives in high quantity, Ayres said. For those companies that, unlike Samsung but like Seagate, do not happen to already be a hard drive manufacturer and a flash memory producer, Ayres said, Microsoft is helping to make introductions between prospective drive and Flash partners. "We want to see Flash get into the platform in the right way," he added.

Stay with TG Daily throughout the week for more from TechEd 2006 in Boston.