Intel has unveiled a new flash-memory hard drive smaller than a fingertip and lighter than a drop of water; the 2- or 4-gig Z-P140 is a play to compete with Samsung in storage technology for handheld devices. Conventional magnetic hard drives aren’t small, rugged, or efficient enough to power smartphones, but the new drive could eventually bring the power of a desktop to a handheld.
Intel’s device pioneers a built-in controller, which allows multiple chips to be combined. One chip with the controller can be combined with three lacking a controller—for a max of one 16-gig drive. By 2010, the company expects to get 64 gigs into a single piece of the tiny silicon. But flash chips, MIT Technology Review cautions, wear out very quickly.