Watkins moves to flash specialist

May 5, 2009 // 2:17 p.m.

Tags: #bill-watkins #flash #sdd #seagate #solid-state #vertical-circuits #watkins

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.
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