Do HDDs have a place in a tablet-dominated future?

Although shipments of SSDs for notebooks will be minuscule compared to HDDs over the next few years, the flash-based components are already shaving off market share from traditional hard drives.

“SSDs are universally employed in media tablets, which are eating into the sales of notebook and netbook PCs,” IHS analyst Fang Zhang told TG Daily in an e-mailed statement.

“Seagate’s [recently debuted] Momentus Thin HDD represents an attempt by the industry to answer the challenge of SSDs in notebooks – and even in media tablets – by undercutting the cost of solid-state drives while providing higher densities.”

According to Zhang, Seagate’s Momentus Thin HDD could potentially find acceptance in netbooks and notebooks – preventing SSDs from making further inroads in the lucrative space.

As expected, the near term opportunity for super-slim drives in tablets is quite limited.

HDD-based models are projected to account for 2 percent or less of the total tablet market in 2012 – even though a device using the Momentus Thin HDD boasts 10 times the storage capacity of a flash-based tablet.

Then again, HDD-based tablets are limited by a number of disadvantages, including potentially shorter battery life, longer boost time and a relatively heavy weight compared to flash-based tablets.

“These drawbacks may serve as a disincentive to some tablet users who require speed and mobility,” added Zhang.