While Apple may have eaten up some huge percentage of the world's flash memory market in building the ever-so-delicate iPod Nano, it's got some wondering whether or not flash drives can eventually replace hard drives. That, not surprisingly, has hard drive makers in full on response mode, such as this interview with Seagate's CEO, where he insists that flash memory still doesn't have the access speeds necessary to match hard drive performance. He also points out the price advantages to hard drives. What's most interesting, though, is that he doesn't seem all that interested in challenging the idea that hard drives will remain much larger than flash memory. That seems to be the easiest point of attack, since hard drives have consistently been able to stay ahead of flash growth and flash memory chips are still significantly smaller than most hard drives. That certainly suggests that the claims of flash makers that they're getting closer to much larger offerings have some substance. He admits that power consumption is an issue (flash does much better than hard drives), but seems to believe that people don't care as much about it... which seems to actually go against what most people are saying. Either way, it seems clear that the question of flash memory is a big enough concern that hard drive makers are feeling the pressure to respond.
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