SanDisk is moving into the netbook market with a new generation of flash memory solid-state drives. The company said its new pSSD-P2 and pSSD-S2 SSDs are designed as drop-in replacements for hard-disk drives.
According to SanDisk, a SATA interface with a performance boost makes the new SSDs faster than hard drives in critical aspects. For example, SanDisk said booting and launching applications takes just half the time of a hard drive.
"Netbooks represent the fastest-growing PC segment in 2009 and 2010, yet widespread adoption of SSDs in netbooks has been limited by speed, capacity and cost constraints," said Rich Heye, senior vice president and general manager of SSDs at SanDisk. "With the significant improvements in performance, capacity and low pricing, these SSDs are a perfect fit for the exploding netbook market."
A Growing Market
Netbook sales were about half a million units in 2007, but they are poised to take off. IDC recently hiked its projected worldwide sales to 11 million this year and 41 million in 2012.
"SanDisk's Gen 2 pSSD drives have the best combination of capacity, performance, weight, pricing and power advantages to really excite designers, manufacturers and users of netbooks," said Richard Brown, vice president of marketing at netbook-maker VIA Technologies. "Our latest reference designs will include SanDisk's Gen2 pSSD drives, and we look forward to working with SanDisk to aggressively address the netbook market's needs."
SanDisk's pSSD drives will come to market in February. Their 43-nanometer multi-level cell (MLC) flash memory technology uses SanDisk's patented All Bit Line architecture that maintains performance and reliability.
"From a size and performance standpoint, netbooks need to leverage their battery power in every way possible, so an SSD drive would make a great deal of sense for this type of application," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. "They are also not meant to be fully featured, fully blown notebook PC replacements. So a smaller SSD drive with eight to 64 gigs would be more than enough for most people's netbook needs."
The new SDDs are available in available in capacities of eight, 16, 32 and 64 gigabytes. SanDisk said its drives are aggressively priced. The 32GB SSD, for example, is priced at parity with 2.5-inch hard drives in OEM quantities.
"When the economy hits a rough spot, it ripples all the way down the electronics supply chain," King said. "I think it behooves component makers like SanDisk and Intel and Seagate and everybody else that owns a piece of the PC or notebook or netbook pie to be as innovative and aggressive in their pricing as possible."