Seagate drive has gigabytes of pocket storage

Seagate Technology LLC and Motorola both said Tuesday they had invested in the portable storage market, hoping to meet a rising need by users of cell phones and smartphones to carry gigabytes of digital photos and music in their pockets.

Seagate unveiled a wireless 10GB to 20GB storage device, intended to fit in users’ pockets and allow them to store and share digital files between mobile phones, PCs and other mobile platforms. This Digital Audio Video Experience (DAVE) uses a one-inch hard drive to trade files with other platforms up to 30 feet (9.1 meters) away using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi networking.

The company will begin selling DAVE to telecommunications providers and mobile phone makers in the second quarter of 2007, to be resold under their own brands.

Electronics manufacturers will use DAVE to boost storage capacity without increasing the size or cost of retail cell phones, and content providers will use it to deliver video files without latency or coverage problems, since the files can be downloaded to the hardware at leisure instead of streamed live through mobile networks, Seagate said in its announcement at the Demo 07 trade show.

Together, those applications will allow DAVE to add fuel to the growth of new wireless music and video services, according to a statement by Patrick King, general manager of Seagate’s consumer electronics business unit.

Likewise, Motorola announced that its venture capital arm had invested in DARTdevices Corp., a Mountain View, Calif., software firm whose application is designed to allow consumer electronics devices to share content wirelessly. Users can share applications or music, photo and data files by installing DARTdevices’ software on their mobile phones, PCs, PDAs (personal digital assistants), MP3 music players and other platforms.

Making those disparate devices interoperable will make mobile computing more seamless, said Tony Palcheck, an investment manager for Motorola Ventures.

The timing is right for mobile devices manufacturers to seek new ways of boosting storage, since wireless handsets are becoming portable entertainment hubs, according to the Consumer Electronics Association’s 2007 Sales Forecast.

Wireless carriers now court new customers by offering complete media content services, including audio, video, news and games, the report said. That trend is pushing fast change in the storage industry, with flash media growing at double-digit growth through 2010, and consumers pushing a transition from CD to DVD media, standard DVD to high-resolution discs, and sinking demand for tape-based media.

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