are still overpriced for most average consumers, but the companies responsible for making them are constantly searching for ways to make them larger (in terms of capacity), smaller (in terms of form factor) and cheaper (in terms of real dollars). Toshiba
has their own line of solid state drives right now, but just as the company has innovated in the optical storage department, they're also hoping to innovate in the world of NAND storage.
A new partnership between the company and Tokyo's Keio University has led to the creation of a new technology that could allow SSDs up to 1TB in size to be made "with a footprint no larger than a postage stamp." That's far, far smaller than even the 1.8" drives that currently reside in the larger iPod units, and exponentially smaller than the 2.5" SSDs that are shipping now for existing notebooks.
Toshiba's Tadahiro Kuroda
The report states that the two have been able to integrate 128GB NAND Flash chips and a single controller into a stamp-sized form factor. They have even made it operational with transfer rates of 2Gbps (or 250MB/sec) with data transfer that relies on short-range, electromagnetic communication. Somehow, they even claim to have made it 70% more power efficient than the average 2.5" SSD, making it cheaper to operate as well. The company expects to be able to produce a proof of concept application-ready version sometime in 2012. The main issue right now is that there's no industry standard in place for this type of technology, so it could be difficult to gain acceptance from PC makers and the like. Of course devices will get smaller as time goes on, and we could easily see this being the go-to drive for the next generation of portable media players and possibly even netbooks. Unfortunately, there's no mention of a consumer product release date just yet, but we're guessing it'll be a few years still.
Regardless, it's easy to see where the industry is going with Solid State Drive technologies. Eventually, with the level of resource
behind its development, storage as we know it will transition completely over to the SSD, similar to the way of the vacuum tube transistor so many years ago.