Slimmer, smaller, sleeker... better. That's the going mantra in consumer electronics, with storage always aiming to be smaller and yet bigger than in the past. The Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) has just announced it has finalized a new version of its Universal Storage Module (USM) standard that enables consumers to simply and easily increase the storage capacity of their mobile devices. The USM Slim specification defines a thinner, 9mm dimension, making it an ideal storage solution for ultrabooks, tablets and other portable devices. And as you can imagine, with those very segments booming in the market, it's a great place to be improving.
Like the original USM specification, which specified a 14.5 mm height, USM Slim defines how developers can design slots into their products that accept complete, powered, external storage devices with integrated SATA interfaces. These slots and storage devices enable consumers to access their content from a variety of products and to transfer that content between devices without the aid of additional power or cables. The integrated SATA interface supports transfer speeds up to 6 GB/s, offering users the same speed and reliability they've come to expect from their hard drives and other SATA-based devices.
The USM Slim specification is currently available at no cost for SATA-IO members. It will also be made available to the industry at large as part of the SATA Revision 3.2 release, which SATA-IO expects to be available later this year. In the meantime, manufacturers are already beginning to develop USM Slim products; Seagate, for example, has been shipping a 500GB Slim external drive based on these specs. The more the merrier, right?