Researchers Working on HDDs Slim Enough For Tablets

The shipment volume of these flash in these devices is high enough to spark some effort to develop HDDs that are small enough to fit into tablets.

Scientists at the Data Storage Institute in Singapore said they are working on a HDD form factor that will drop the thickness of the currently thinnest HDD from 7 mm to at least 5 mm , which should be enough to be an option for tablets (the iPad 2 is 8.8 mm thick). DSI said that it already has developed an axial field motor for HDDs that is just 4 mm thick and can support both 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM drives.

"DSI is very excited about the direction that we are taking. We strongly believe there is an opening in the market for thin drives," said Pantelis Alexopoulos, executive director at DSI. Apparently, DSI is not only working on pure HDD designs, but also flash-supported hybrid drives.

There are still questions whether there is a general tablet market and there have been reports that tier-1 PC makers may be considering to actually drop out of the tablet market in 2012 due to a lack of profit opportunities. However, 5 mm HDDs may not only work for tablets - they may also be an interesting option for ultrabooks.

DSI said that it will be demonstrating a 5 mm drive sometime in the future, but did not mention an exact time.

  • amk-aka-Phantom
    What a bunch of idiots. First they made the tablets and smartphones thin as hell for no reason, dropping battery life, and now they're gonna try to make HDDs thinner, too... So now you won't be able to toss that tablet on the sofa safely or what? This is a downgrade!
  • de5_Roy
    how about slimming down the prices, huh? i know i know this is about a prototype and what not... one can only dream...
  • memadmax
  • phasmantis
    Something about spinning disks on a platter and lots of maneuverability doesn't seem to go together... oh yeah, the maneuverability. Sorry, but there should be NOTHING in a tablet besides some sort of flash memory. Last thing I want is to feel my HDD vibrate and hear it click in the palm of my hands...
  • Naxos
    They really need to work on this? Have they never seen an IBM micro drive? They are the size of a CF card and have been around for 5+ years. I have 2 of them sitting around somewhere and they still work fine. I'm sure with a modern platter inside they would have plenty of capacity.
  • theuniquegamer
    No one wants a 1tb hdd on a tablet gone bad after accedentaly tossing it on the table. TBH does anyone need more than 128gb or 256gb on a cellphone or tablet like ultraportable devices. BTW the high capacity ssds are going to be more cheaper to use in tablets in next few years.
  • billybobser
    I would prefer to move away from hard disk's completely. I can't imagine something like a tablet, which already struggles for speed to incorporate a power hungry, noisy and flimsy.

    Perhaps hard disk manufacturers should diversify, not continue to make the same shit.
  • visa
    Throw in a 5.25 floppy drive for the tablet and you got yourself a GD deal
  • g00fysmiley
    ... i'd be ok with a tablet as thin as an ipod 160 gig... why not use those tiny hdd sor storage and flash based storage for OS, combine with a good bit of ram and it should work
  • OMG, how short peoples memories are. FWIW, it's was done more then a decade ago:

    My first digital camera had a 384MB version of that drive. Slow as molasses, but at the time WAY cheaper then flash of comparable size.