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Watkins moves to flash specialist

Watkins moves to flash specialist

Bill Watkins has announced his first position since leaving Seagate, with a flash memory specialist - despite his doubts on the technology.

Outspoken ex-Seagate chief executive Bill Watkins has revealed his latest venture – and it's with a firm specialising in flash memory storage for ultra-thin portable devices like notebooks and netbooks.

Despite Watkins' very public denunciation of flash storage technology in laptops during his employment at hard drive specialist Seagate – which saw him state that he “just [doesn't] see the flash notebook selling” - Watkins clearly things that there are advantages to the solid state storage system after all: size.

According to CNet, Watkins' latest employment is as a board member with start-up Vertical Circuits, which specialises in making ultra-thin flash storage for notebooks via a 3D stacking technique which sees chips stacked one on top of the other rather than side by side. Watkins believes that this manufacturing method – despite only removing around 1.6mm of space between memory chips – will pay off big: speaking to the Times, he said he was surprised to learn “how much a Dell or Apple will pay for thinness [...] there's a big difference for them between 2 millimetres and 1 millimetre on some of this stuff.

Despite Watkins' predictions of greatness, Vertical Circuits hasn't yet turned a profit – however, the company hopes to change that over the “next few quarters.

Are you surprised at Watkins' U-turn on the feasibility of flash-based notebooks, or did his comments make perfect sense from the perspective of a major player in the mechanical hard drive arena? Hoping that the Vertical Circuits chip-stacking tech will shave millimetres off your next notebook purchase? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

5 Comments

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coolius 5th May 2009, 17:01 Quote
So they are gonna make the chips thinner by stacking them on top of each other?? Hmm...
bowman 5th May 2009, 17:09 Quote
They're always gonna talk down any competing product they can't compete with until they can.

Case in point, NVIDIA talking down unified shaders back when ATI was there and they weren't - then they released 8800GTX. And now, they're talking down programmable cGPUs like Larrabee - until they bring out their own of course.
airchie 6th May 2009, 02:51 Quote
I remember him saying that Flash wasn't where its at and thinking he was speaking crap... :D
HDD_GUY 6th May 2009, 05:30 Quote
He ranted against this technology, lost all form of respect within the storage industry, and will be nothing but a liability. Methinks he must have bought his way into this company, surely no one actually invited him...........did they ? ;(
thehippoz 6th May 2009, 07:18 Quote
he's got big dreams n***a, big dreams :D
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