The iVDR Consortium: A removable hard drive for everything?

I'm SO into drive space. My growing collection of MP3's and AVI's demands it. I've got my NAS appliance in the basement, and am pretty intrigued by the new "effortless data storage" technology Trusted Data (now Data Robotics) is talking about. Plus, with online media service after online media service ... well ... coming online, literally terabytes of data is being downloaded into the average geek's home every week now. It's getting pretty intense.

And with so much digital information flying around, hard drives are becoming huger and cheaper ... which is fine by me. Just the other day, I saw a 500GB WD external drive for $232. Still too pricey (which I find hard to believe)? Try his 250GB little brother for $107. Amazing!

But recently at CES, I learned about another aspect of the evolution of drive technology that's worth talking about, even if it's not all that compelling in my mind. Evidently, there is progress being made to generally standardize a removable drive casing and interface for ... everything, especially media. At least that's their dream.

The group pushing this idea is called iVDR, and is a consortium of (mostly) Japanese and (some) American companies, looking to make universal their design (currently being built by Maxell) for a 3.2" by 0.5" by 4.3" shock resistant, hard plastic removable hard drive. It's SATA, so it promises speeds in the 3GB/s range, but it's got a new proprietary (porportedly more resiliant) interface. Current sizes are 80- and 160GB. The goal is to have something pocket-sized and tough that you can pull out of your laptop, and stick into your TV, then into your car, then into your DVD player, etc.

Lots of us have dreamed about having hard drives in our media devices like that, but I have to say until now I didn't imagine them as removable. So my question to the perverbial room is: Is this significant?

I like the difficult-to-damage casing idea. And I like things to be universal. But especially given how big secure digital, compact flash and the like are now (up to 16GB now, right?), I'm not really sure. Wouldn't it make more sense to build solid state storage into your TV and your refridgerator, then allow me to use another solid state card (like SD) to transfer information between if necessary. Or skip it and move right to WiFi or Blutooth. Of course, if these little babies were 500GB drives, then maybe I'd turn in my SD aspirations. But then again, who knows how big those will get too, right? And God knows we're never going to standardization there (with solid state cards) at this point. *frown* That'd put all the 7-card universal reader people right out on the street.

So, on my list of things I saw at CES, this intrigued me, but goes on the "not-so-hot" list. What do you think?

(BTW, you can find the iVDR drive spec here.)


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