Western Digital Gearing Up To Demo 5mm 500GB Hard Disk In A Media Tablet

Media tablets use NAND Flash memory chips as storage almost exclusively, owing to their thin form factor and the fact that they are often jostled around by users.

In fact, most premium models use custom designed embedded chips instead of regular SSDs.

Only special tablets and industrial devices that do not need to be as thin and light as consumer tablets utilize hard disks, as they have a use of higher storage capacities. But Western Digital wants to change this trend, and is preparing to demo a special ultrathin hard disk at the Computex trade show.

The hard disk maker has created a hard drive with a thickness of just 5mm for tablets. And it is not too shabby on the storage front either — this unit offers 500GB of storage space.

This is actually not the first time 5mm hard drives have been revealed. But this is the first one that is made specifically for tablet usage, and the world’s first media tablet with a HDD inside will be demoed at the 2013 Computex trade show.

The event will take place in Taipei (Taiwan) next week, between June 4 and 8.

Interestingly enough this particular drive features a 2.5-inch form factor, instead of the smaller and much more expensive 1.8-inch one. But then again, it is not all that easy to cram 500 gigabytes of storage capacity in a drive with this small a size, as it does not have that much platter area.

Then again, this size means the hard disk will eat into the area that is normally reserved for the battery on tablets. In other words, some compromises will have to be made in terms of shorter battery life.

While not everyone will jump in and offer traditional hard disk drives in tablets, but this is nevertheless a viable alternative for those that want more storage space on their slates.

So then, what about you guys? Do you see yourself choosing a HDD over a SDD for your media tablet? Bear in mind that solid state drives offer a much higher level of safety against shocks than hard disk drives, which have a tendency to fail in case a tablet is mishandled.