RealTime IT News

Storage Groups Target Small Disks

The MultiMediaCard Association (MMCA) said it has formed a liaison arrangement with the Consumer Electronics-Advanced Technology Attachment (CE-ATA) Promoter Group to standardize disk drive interfaces for next-generation devices where small form factor, low pin count and low-power consumption are key requirements.

While desktop PCs and large storage devices are compatible, the groups claim no disk drive interface exists that is tailored to the needs of the handheld and CE market segments.

The groups said they will also help their members and partners tap into the recent consumer electronics phenomenon. In the United States last year, that number hit $108 billion in sales of televisions, DVD players, music players and accessories, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

"We see this liaison work as a way to introduce strong hard drive solution to portable consumer applications," Scott Herbert, MMCA executive director, said in a statement.

For example, Herbert offered the group's MMC System Specification version 4.1 as a good common starting point, because it is designed for low voltage mobile environments (both 1.8V and 3V). MMCplus cards come in a standard 32 x 24mm size and a MMCmobile version about haft the size and operating voltage.

The partnership has some backbone to it. MMCA is made up of 14 companies and more than 190 worldwide members, including HP, Renesas Technology, Infineon, Lexar, Micron Technology, Nokia, Power Digital Card, Samsung and Sanyo. The CE-ATA Promoter Group boasts a similar powerhouse roster in Hitachi, Intel, Marvell, Nokia, Seagate and Toshiba.

The groups are also celebrating the completion and distribution of a release candidate of the core protocol specification this week. The final 1.0 spec is on track to be ratified and published in the first half of this year. The first products supporting the new technology could be available by late 2005.

"The CE-ATA specification builds on MMCA technology that will be used as the underlying communication interface," Knut Grimsrud, chairman of the CE-ATA working group and Intel Corporation senior principal engineer, said in a statement.