Meet Your Computer's Mini-Me

Most of us are already carrying around a small library in our pockets thanks to smartphones that offer tens of gigabytes worth of storage.

But what if you could carry your entire computer in your pocket? In the next months, Seagate Technology (Nasdaq: STX  ) will ship a disk drive that introduces the possibility. Called the GoFlex Slim, the new drive is only 9 millimeters thick and offers 320 gigabytes of storage for $100, Techworld.com reports.

Expect consumers to give this drive a serious look, especially those with cheap netbooks that skimp on storage space. And expect EMC (NYSE: EMC  ) , which owns personal drive maker Iomega, to develop and ship an alternative as quickly as it can.

GoFlex Slim serves a need. More of us are taking gear to everyday events, and thanks to flip cams and DSLRs, we're creating an increasing amount of byte-consuming interactive media that demands storage space.

Yet I'm hesitant to change my bearish view of Seagate. The data storage industry is turning away from the optical and magnetic technologies that Seagate and peer Western Digital (NYSE: WDC  ) have long offered and toward solid-state technology from the likes of SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK  ) and STEC (Nasdaq: STEC  ) .

And while the personal data storage market may be attractive, I fear there are too many options for Seagate to stand out. Just look at the Web. Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) new Cloud Drive may not offer much space right now, but it's free and easy to use. Capacity limits will increase with time.

Good effort, Seagate. But if you want my attention as an investor, show me how you'll disrupt the solid-state storage market that's disrupting your core business as I write this. Show me a real plan to win that theater of war, and then I'll get interested.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think about the data storage market, personal disk drives, and Seagate's competitive positioning using the comments box below.

The Motley Fool recently introduced a free My Watchlist feature that allows users to stay ahead of the curve and receive up-to-date news on companies like Seagate Technology, or any of its competitors. To get the most recent Seagate news and analysis, add the company to your watchlist today:

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool owns shares of EMC and Western Digital and is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy likes your look today. Bravo!


Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 06, 2011, at 4:57 PM, stan8331 wrote:

    It's difficult to predict where changing technology will take the hard drive industry. Solid state will almost inevitably become dominant, but not necessarily with currently existing solid state technology and not necessarily in the near future. I'd have a really hard time trying to choose a winner amongst Seagate, Sandisk, STEC and Western Digital. The ultimate winner could easily end up being a company and/or technology that doesn't yet exist.

  • Report this Comment On April 06, 2011, at 6:16 PM, millsbob wrote:

    seeing as i helped a friend put a 7-mm 320mb Hitachi drive in her MacBook last night and it cost only $50 in quantity one, i'm at a loss as to why you think this Seagate drive is even worth noting.

    perhaps you've left something out that makes it interesting? it's certainly not physically small, and it's not cheap.

  • Report this Comment On April 06, 2011, at 6:17 PM, millsbob wrote:

    sorry, that should have been 320gb for the Hitachi 7-mm drive. my age is showing...

  • Report this Comment On April 06, 2011, at 6:30 PM, JellMan wrote:

    Seagate's new EXTERNAL hard drive would not require anyone's help installing it IN a PC.

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2011, at 2:53 AM, jrmart wrote:

    In early 1980 I sold a 25MB Data General hard drive for $65,000. It was 2 feet high by 2 feet wide and it shook like crazy and used a lot of electricity. Data General at that time had just introduced a new super fast mini computer called an MV8000, and a book was written about it...THE SOUL OF A NEW MACHINE. This new mini computer from Data General was supposed to blow away all the other slower mini computers from DEC, HP, IBM and Prime because it was twice as fast. Unfortunately, that slow spinning and shaky hard drive became a bottleneck for this super fast mini computer. Additionally, there were very few applications that could run on the new MV8000 super fast operating system, and the rest of this story is old history.

    The same thing is happening today. The old big dog hard drive manufacturers like WDC and SGX aren't keeping pace with today's new easy to use solid state drive Apple products.

    "Computerworld reviewer Michael deAgonia wrote......Eleven months ago, Apple released the first iPad, a touchscreen handheld computer that redefined tablets, disrupting the laptop/desktop market just as the iPod did to music players and the iPhone did to smartphones. On Friday, March 11, 2011 15 million iPads later, Apple released its successor, the iPad 2. Many people -- myself included -- predicted long lines and sell-outs, just like last year. So did Apple deliver?

    In a word, yes; more accurately: hell yes."

    There is a new faster and better way to do business. IPad integrates with Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino and standards-based messaging environments, to provide your users push email, calendar and contacts, right out of the box. And iPad supports the most common corporate VPN and Wi-Fi protocols for secure access to your company’s networks.

    Data on iPad is secure, with full device encryption and support for passcode and other remote management policies. And iPad’s worldwide 3G coverage gives your users the ability to work and connect, even in the most remote locations.

    When you can buy a 2 Terabyte hard drive from WDC for $129.00, it's time to invest in STEC, Micron, or SanDisk.

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