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By 2011, watch 100 films on your mobile

Imagine a future where you can store 55 movies in a palm-sized 64 Gigabyte hard disk. It is loaded with software that you can slip into a laptop computer — and it costs less than Rs 8,000. Narayanan Madhavan has details.

business Updated: Apr 05, 2008 03:45 IST
Narayanan Madhavan

Imagine a future where you can store 55 three-hour-long Bollywood movies in a palm-sized 64 Gigabyte hard disk. It is loaded with software that you can slip into a laptop computer — and it costs less than Rs 8,000.

Or think of a one-square-centimetre card that slides into a mobile phone and can load twice as many movies in it. The day is not too far away.

By 2011, you can hope to get 64 GB solid-state disk for laptops at under $200, while a thin mini storage disk card can by that time take 128 GB (that can store 110 films). Currently, it costs $500 — Rs 20,000 — for a palm-sized 32 GB disk.

Like Intel founder Gordon Moore’s law that made computer chips double speeds while dropping prices roughly every 18 months, another semiconductor-driven aspect of the industry, storage, is hurtling towards a dizzy future. In an age of YouTube video downloads and high-speed Net connections, this could change the way you watch movies, listen to music or use computers.

“We call it Turbo Moore’s Law,” Sanjay Mehrotra, Indian-born president and chief operating officer of SanDisk, world’s leading maker of flash storage cards, told Hindustan Times. “Every 12 to 18 months we are doubling the capacity inside any of our cards.”

In flash cards that go into mobile phones, that current peak load is 8 GB. In India, a 2GB card now costs around Rs 1,600 and an 8 GB card twice as much, though big discounts are common. Every GB of storage can take about 125 songs, 600 photos and 1.5 hours of video.

The flash memory is key to storing songs and videos. SanDisk also makes digital music players that compete with Apple’s iPods, though it has a small market share.

The company, founded in 1988 by Mehrotra with Israeli-born Eli Harari, specialises in advanced research design to make the disks not only store, but access information intelligently and work with an array of hardware technologies.