The New Times, The New Drives – Seagate’s Rob Pait

January 7th, 2007 |
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Rob Pait, Seagate’s marketing manager for global consumer hard disc drive took a break at the PodTech Bloghaus during the start of the International CES to talk about the new line of small form factor drives unveiled by Seagate at the show in Las Vegas. This is a Seagate podcast.

Transcript:

Host: Michael Johnson – PodTech

Guest: Rob Pait – Seagate

Michael Johnson – PodTech

This is Michael Johnson, and we’re here in Las Vegas, Nevada. I’m here with Rob Pait of Seagate and we’re here in the — shall I call the luxurious, the sumptuous, The Seagate/PodTech BlogHaus suite, high up above the strip here and Rob, welcome to the Podcast.

Rob Pait – Seagate

Thanks Michael. It’s great to be here in Vegas especially with the weather we’ve been getting it in Colorado.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

Yeah, I should say. Now, few weeks ago we’re talking on the Podcast about some small firm factors and the things that you could — the couple of things you really couldn’t talk about, but here we’re at CES and this is time for the great unveiling, what’s going to be happening at CES? What is Seagate going to be rolling out? This is kind of an exciting time for Seagate.

Rob Pait – Seagate

It’s a fantastic time for Seagate. We’re actually rolling out a few things that we think are really going to enable something we called the on-demand world. That’s a world where consumers are going to be able to grab content, whatever content they want, whenever they want it, wherever they want it, on whatever device they want it. So, our announcement here and the kind of products we’re going to be releasing and talking about here are going to support that.

The main announcement, I think the thing that everybody is most familiar with, is 1.8 inch drive the LiteON drive, brand new hard drive for Seagate, that’s going to go into portable media players even digital camcorders to replace video tape and we take a lot more devices; PC companies were asking about this for automobile PCs and even for laptops. We think the one-inch drive has a lot of potential for it, so that’s the main hard drive we’re announcing, but we’re starting to branch off into other enabling technologies that get passed the hard drive and help companies really start to create new products and really new market segments for, again, what we call the on-demand world.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

Let’s talk about getting passed the hard drive because this is clearly the day the hard drive has really changed. This is really, I mean, it kind of has to really evolve and it’s going to be interesting to watch companies like Seagate and others really kind of deal with this on demand world as you are saying with a lot more information and a lot more mobility. Now, you talked about this 1.8 inch drive. Now, how has that been like a sea change for Seagate, if you will?

Rob Pait – Seagate

That’s a pun that we’ll forgive here Michael. When you think about the 1.8 inch drive, I remember an M&A (Inaudible) who remember much further back than this, but when I came to Seagate it was 1999 and we announced the 4 gigabyte drive that industry experts said was way too much capacity for any PC. Now, of course, we’ve evolved way past PCs, we’re into devices where you can take photos, music even video with you and the infrastructure to acquire that video is now in place in between Web models, DVRs will let you download video to mobile devices and so the 1.8 inch drive gives you 60 gigabytes of storage, and what is literally a credit card sized package that you can use for that type of thing, but of course it’s also by content creation and what is happening today, we saw it with Time Magazine, right, they name a ‘Person of the Year’ every year and this year the ‘Person of the Year’ was you.

I mean, not now you necessarily Michael though your face be (Voice Overlap) Your face would‘ve been incredible on the cover, but it was about how we’re all becoming reporters, we’re all becoming content creators, we’re all becoming producers and the 1.8 inch drive the Seagate LiteON drive is going to really be a key factor and that now you‘re going to be able to go out and shoot video with your camera or perhaps with other devices that are in mobile phones or other mobile kind of devices and you’ll be able to shoot that video and manipulate it much more easily because it’s on a hard drive.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

Now, there’s a no of these mobile devices out and many of that are driven by flash. Now, why a hard drive verses flash, what are some of the considerations there? Because I think that people are kind of thrilled by the idea being able to say you take a little flash card and pop it out of this and pop it into that, but why hard drive? Why in particular is that a good application for the new technologies?

Rob Pait – Seagate

The main reasons are capacity and price. You’re simply going to get so much more capacity for the money out of a hard drive. When you take a look at the devices that are on the market today, you’ll find around the $249-$299 price point, devices using hard drives that’ll give you up to 30 gigabytes of storage today and of course with us announcing a 60 gigabyte drive that’s going to push the capacity of those products out even further. For the same price, you’ll generally get about an 8 gigabyte product with flash memory and that’s great, both forms of storage have their place in the market. Many of your listeners are really going to want to take their entire music libraries with them, you don’t want them to start talking mobile video with them and in those kind of capacities where you need a lot of storage in a small space…

Michael Johnson – PodTech

So, Rob, the hard drive has really evolved as you are saying, it’s really going to a whole new place. What do you think that a company like Seagate has to do in order to sort of be there, because it clearly it’s got a retool, it’s got to really think differently.

Rob Pait – Seagate

Right and one of the things we’re doing Michael is taking a work at the technology ecosystem that the entrainment business is relying on to start distributing content onto new screens, onto new devices like mobile phones, portable video devices, automobiles, game consoles – wherever you look, you see hard drives being the tank, if you will, for these media pipelines that are containing a lot of video and where you need a lot of capacity at the end of those pipelines to really use that content.

So, one of our biggest announcements actually at CES is something that is sounds really quite simple, it’s called the storage management module and the amazing thing we found as we started to move into the consumer electronics space is that many companies wanted to put video on their devices didn’t have support for the hard drives in their main board, in their chipsets. So, we’ve spent the last year or so bringing together a set of software, they’re hard drive drivers, they work with the ST MMC controls that are in. For example, a mobile phone or for a portable media device, software that helps manage the power usage inside of a mobile device, software that helps really speed the performance of commands like record, playback even give a hard drive device instant on capabilities.

So, we’ve put all these tools together into the storage management module and this means the companies that make chipsets aren’t yet compatible with the hard drive, now have a really fast and easy way to make their chipset hard drive ready. We think that by continuing to do things like this to impact the ecosystems in which storage is going to play a bigger and bigger part, we’re going to help enable brand new classes of devices get some market much faster.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

It’s like being the universal translator, in a way you’re really opening up the pathways and having, I guess, these devices more easily be able to speak to each other as they go to new areas.

Rob Pait – Seagate

That’s exactly right, when you think back, 1984, 1985 most PCs didn’t have support for the hard drive on their main boards. You actually had to get special drivers from the individual hard drive companies if you want to (ph) make a hard drive work on a main board. Now, today, of course, when you buy a PC, you can’t buy a PC without they’re being hard drive support embedded into the chipset. That’s what we want to do with the rest of the world with — as I said mobile phone, mobile video devices and that sort of thing is help to move toward a world where the hard drive and any motherboard that you’re going to find in anyone of these devices are going to be compatible with each other.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

How should people think about their hard drives, how should people start thinking about that kind of capacity because more and more use to be the 8 millimeter camera that a lot of people had and those reels are still lying around, I am sure, undigitized somewhere, but now people are starting to carry around video cameras, they’re starting to carry around the small point and shoot cameras — I think they’ve outsold still cameras; now digital and those are starting to really change the way people are thinking about what they produce, the memories that they produce because this is pretty important stuff and now how should they start thinking about a company like Seagate or the idea of storage?

Rob Pait – Seagate

We want for people to think about Seagate as not being a provider of components anymore. We’re really coming together to try and provide consumers with broad range of products that are going to let them manage their digital life. That’s why we want to be at the heartbeat of the digital life the people are starting to lead now.

So, we’ve actually got a whole line of products coming out that people can attach to their PCs externally, that are going to allow them to backup photos with the touch of a button or without touching a button at all or have it happen automatically to be able to backup home networks, to be able to carry their memories with them on hard drives are going to be very easy to use, even to be able to access as hard drives while you are on the road that are sitting back at your home and to able to pull music, photos whatever information you want to pull off, of your hard drive at home will be available to you on the network. We call this new line of external hard drives ‘free agent drives’ and we’ve made them with a lot of great functionality in the drive, but we’ve also made them, I think, a lot easier on the eyes then a traditional external hard drives spend.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

Looking for to a lot of what’s going to be presented here at CES, imagine that if folks who are listening to this they want to check out some other things, can they go to Seagate.com?

Rob Pait – Seagate

Seagate.com, we’ve got a link to our CES microsite right there on the front page. In fact, we’ve just redesigned Seagate.com to make it really easy to get around. So, really encourage your listeners to go there and get some deep information; not just on the new market that are happing, but also on the technology side of things. You can really start to explore what we’re doing from an engineering standpoint to support this on-demand world of entertainment.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

Rob Pait of Seagate Technologies, it’s been great having you, great seeing you again, here at Las Vegas. I can’t wait to get on the show floor and see what’s going on at the Seagate booth and it’s been great talking with you.

Rob Pait – Seagate

Thanks Michael, we’re going have a great time here in Vegas.

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Posted in: CES BlogHaus 2008, CES Las Vegas - Consumer Electronics Show, Connected Social Media, Corporate, Seagate, Technology
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