SAN JOSE – Hard disk drives will continue to be the dominant form of storage in notebooks for the near term, despite an onslaught of flash-based tablets, according to a new report
by IHS iSuppli.
Notebooks with hard disks larger than 500 Gbytes and priced from $450 to $550 accounted for the biggest share of the market (32 percent) in the first quarter, iSuppli said. The second-biggest segment (26 percent) belonged to notebooks integrating hard disk drives larger than 320 Gbytes and priced between $350 and $450. Only three percent of the market belonged to 128 Gbyte laptops using solid-state drives (SSDs) or very high-end notebooks with hard drives costing more than $900, it said.
The market watcher did not include in its analysis hybrid notebooks, such as Intel Ultrabooks
, that use a hard drive and a solid state drive cache as an adjunct. It also did not consider the impact of Microsoft’s Surface tablet
which is not expected to be released until October.
“The rankings show that SSD-based notebook PCs like Apple Inc.’s MacBook Air presently pose no threat to the much larger universe of HDD-based mobile PCs,” said Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at IHS iSuppli, speaking in a press release.
“SSD-equipped notebooks are faster, more lightweight and sport a thinner profile, but they are also more expensive and feature less overall storage space,” Zhang added. “The price of a MacBook Air with just a 64 Gbytes solid-state drive can reach $999, while an HDD-based notebook PC at that price can boast significantly larger storage space,” he said.
Notebooks with hard drives “could come under fire should the price of either SSD-equipped notebooks or the Surface tablet PC fall below $700,” iSuppli said. In addition tablets are already stealing sales away from notebooks, something Microsoft’s Surface with its physical keyboard could accelerate, it added.