We've seen this lament on more than a few reviews: 16 gigabytes isn't enough storage for a mobile device anymore. Prolific hard drive vendor Seagate would like to offer an alternative to the sometimes stingy flash storage standard. Even 2.5-inch laptop drives are generally too big and power-hungry for tablets, but Seagate's new Ultra Mobile HDD crams up to 500GB of storage into a module just 5mm thin.

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In addition to the thin design that could potentially fit in almost any tablet casing, the hard drive weighs only 3.3 ounces and uses as little as .14 watts of power. Of course hard drives can't match the speed of flash storage, so Seagate is also throwing in its proprietary Dynamic Data Driver with the OEM package. An "intelligent caching system" will reportedly allow hardware to use up to 64GB of shared storage at any given time without sacrificing speed or power consumption. Maybe this flexible cache is the reason that Seagate didn't use the even smaller 1.8" HDD standard. The dynamic driver also includes drop detection for some extra data security when your tablet takes a tumble.

This isn't the first integrated hard drive we've seen on Android - that honor goes to the the Archos G9 series (Seagate also provided the OEM hard drives for those models). That design decision didn't really catch on, but then Archos has always catered more to the budget and media-happy crowds. It will be interesting to see if any of the larger manufacturers take Seagate's offer and start building Android tablets with storage that could rival laptops.

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ:STX), a world leader in storage solutions, today took the wraps off the new Seagate® Ultra Mobile HDD designed exclusively for mobile devices. Integrated with the Seagate Mobile Enablement Kit which includes Seagate’s Dynamic Data™ Driver software technology, the new storage solution delivers up to 7x the storage capacity of a traditional 64GB tablet with the same power, performance and reliability of a flash device.

“When comparing side by side a tablet and a portable PC, today’s tablets are trading off storage capacity in order to realize a thin and light form factor device and long battery life,” noted John Rydning, IDC’s research vice president for hard disk drives and semiconductors. “Seagate’s new Mobile Enablement Kit will bring PC-like storage capacity to future thin and light tablet designs, and position Seagate as a potential storage solutions provider to the fast-growing tablet market.”

Seagate has addressed several key areas beyond a standard laptop HDD to optimize mobile applications with the Ultra Mobile HDD and Mobile Enablement Kit. These areas include shock management, heat and vibration and gyroscopic motion— all of which have been heavily tested to ensure the drive delivers the best experience in a tablet solution.

Seagate Dynamic Data Driver Software

Keeping pace with today’s mobile storage demands presents other challenges as well including power consumption requirements, device drops by consumers and user demands. Merging the new Ultra Mobile HDD with the Dynamic Data Driver software alleviates these obstacles enabling OEMs to comfortably fit high-capacity storage into mobile devices.

Seagate’s use of Dynamic Data Driver software addresses these challenges through a combination of system design considerations. Reduced power consumption and improved performance are achieved through an intelligent caching design that is implemented at the system level. As a result a mobile device using 8GB of flash and the Ultra Mobile HDD and Dynamic Data Driver software have the power consumption equal to that of a 64GB tablet and the performance equal to that of a 16GB tablet— while costing less than either.

The software provides drive protection through the use of enhanced motion sensor and thermal monitoring algorithms to control drive access and avoid usage conditions that might harm it. The drive is so well insulated that in many cases a dropped device’s screen would break before its hard disk drive.

To further reinforce reliability for mobile devices, the Ultra Mobile HDD integrates Seagate’s own Zero Gravity™ Sensor providing better shock management. Incorporated power modes support the drive in sleep, standby and idle enabling it to consume as low as 0.14W and support the long battery life demanded by tablets. Its slim, rugged design allows it to be utilized in new emerging applications like convertible and detachable storage.

Leveraging the company’s experience with ultra-portable applications like iPods, MP3 players, and handheld video recorders, the newly-engineered 2.5-inch drive is just 5mm thin while weighing in at a mere 3.3oz— about the same as a light bulb. Featuring up to 500GB of capacity, it delivers the highest areal density available in a small, ultra-thin form factor while supporting over 100,000 photos, 125,000 songs or 62 hours of high-definition video and movies.

The Seagate Mobile Enablement Kit includes the Ultra Mobile HDD, Dynamic Data Driver software, and an optional customized reference design which allows HDD-powered tablets to transparently deliver high-capacity storage space to an end user in a mobile solution. The kit is currently designed to support the Android operating system.

The Seagate Ultra Mobile HDD will be available separately and as part of the Seagate Mobile Enablement Kit. Dynamic Data Driver software not sold separately. For more information on both products please visit http://seagate.com/www/mobilekit.