Memory parts, storage drives, and embedded systems may be hidden from view much of the time, but that doesn’t make their potential impact any less important or exciting. At Computex 2013, the memory and storage exhibition section turned out to be highly noteworthy, showcasing not only the diverse ways in which components parts are being utilized, but also how they have managed to evolve over the years to meet the changing demands of the market. Among the myriad of development trends that have been spotted during the exhibition, the critical ones include the expansion of cloud computing from the public to personal space, the growing emphasis placed on improving consumer convenience, and the rising popularity of high speed and efficient memory solutions intended for both professionals and casual consumers.
Below, we take a brief look at each of the abovementioned trends, and examine the key products which reflect the directions the data storage industry may be headed in.
Expansion of Cloud: Moving from the Public to Personal Space
Without doubt, the concept of online storage will be embraced on a larger scale as more and more people come to learn of its potential benefits. Cloud computing, to date, remains one of the fastest growing –as well as most heavily invested— technological developments, and almost every major tech giant–from Amazon to Apple to Google–have managed to take advantage of the technology by creating for their consumers a massive virtual space in which to store and retrieve data.
A notable way manufacturers are extending the functions of cloud computing is through a technology known as Network Attached Storage (NAS). As thoroughly explained in the promotional videos displayed by various Computex exhibitors, NAS gives ordinary consumers the privilege of maintaining their own “personal” data center through the use of an intuitively designed wireless device (which is small enough to be placed at home or in an office). The content stored on the device is automatically transferred to and backed up in an online storage network, which, upon the establishment of a proper internet connection, can be accessed by users from various remote locations and at any point in time.
The notable vendors at Computex 2013 that promoted NAS-supported devices include Omnitech Innovation, QNAP, ADATA, and Synology. From what the companies’ representatives and advertisements suggest, there appears to be no limits to the types of files that can be stored or the number of authorized users who can access the server.
The storage capacities available to consumers typically range from 1TB to 4TB; For those needing NAS devices for business use (or those who simply want much more room to play with), professional storage options offering significantly larger capacities are also available.
Increased Efforts Made to Ensure Portability, Consumer Convenience
In the world of consumer electronics and mass communication technology, user convenience usually means being able to go anywhere with a hardware product, share almost anything with any person and at any time, and, above all else, having the luxury of performing critical, time demanding tasks at incredibly efficient rates.
A lot of the memory and storage products exhibited at Computex 2013 could be said to have been designed with the above principles in mind. Notable highlights include the 32GB/64GB USB 3.0 flash drives created by PNY (which offers transfer rates that are as high as 320 MB per second), the wireless portable hard disk drives from Team Group that allow up to five people to access stored digital content, and the sleekly designed, light-weight power banks which enable people to charge their mobile devices in relatively short periods of time.
ADATA, it is worth noting, has created an all-in-one portable external drive—known as “Dashdrive Air”— that effectively integrates all of the above mentioned features without compromising cost. As far as transfer rates go, the cables with the Thunder Bolt branding remain undisputed leaders: using the said equipment, HD movies, long video content, and other large sized files can literally be transferred into one’s computer in a matter of seconds.
A series of other interesting hardware products, along with noteworthy components parts, can be previewed in the pictures below.
SSDs and Embedded Chipsets Becoming Increasingly More Powerful and Efficient
One final trend from Computex 2013 that is worth noting is the rising popularity of Solid State Drives (SSDs). In both the business and consumer sectors, there is a tendency for SSDs to be favored more heavily than traditional hard disk drives (HDD). This is mostly due to the former’s better power efficiency, absence of noise (given the lack of moving parts), significantly lighter mass, and ability to offer equally impressive, if not better, data transfer rates.
With the known advantages offered, it hardly surprising that much of the spotlight in Computex’s memory and storage exhibition belonged to SSD components. The semiconductor company Innodisk, notably, generated quite a bit of attention with its “nano SSD,” which is significantly smaller than most solid state drives but offers the same level of speed and power efficiency. Super Talent and BIWIN both drew equally respectable attention with SSDs that are not only applicable under the home and industrial settings, but also offer tremendous endurance when it comes to carrying out power hungry tasks.
The pictures below show a good number of interesting SSD products that have been spotted throughout the exhibition: