Advances in mobile applications like phones and tablets have led these devices to become our primary source for content creation. Cameras, for example, are so advanced that they are integrated with mobile devices and are used much more than dedicated video or still cameras. The adoption and usage of these devices continues, with IDC expecting tablet sales to grow from 300 million units in 2014 to 400 million by 2017, driving continued demand for ever more storage.
Using traditional flash to keep pace with this mobile storage demand is challenging from both a cost and supply perspective. A viable alternative to flash storage in mobile devices has emerged with the development of slim, 5mm hard drive designs that can comfortably fit into a mobile device and accommodate its form factor and unique usage requirements with the added benefit of high capacity.
However, there have been challenges with using hard drives in the mobile space related to:
- Power consumption requirements
- Robustness to device drops by consumers
- Performance expectations and user demands
The Seagate Ultra Mobile HDD and Mobile Enablement Kit, powered by the Dynamic DataTM Driver, address these challenges through a combination of system design considerations, including additional sensors and various software components compatible with Android. The Dynamic Data Driver is key to the successful integration of a hard drive into a mobile or tablet application, improving the drive’s reliability and robustness through the use of enhanced motion sensor and thermal monitoring algorithms to control drive access and avoid conditions that may harm the drive. Improved performance and reduced power consumption can also be achieved by leveraging an intelligent caching design implemented at the system level. This gives greater flexibility to system designers building mobile and small form factor products, that utilise hard drive technology with zero compromise to the end user’s experience.
The Seagate Mobile Enablement Kit
The Seagate Mobile Enablement Kit, supported by the Dynamic Data Driver for Android, is a complete mobile data storage solution that includes the following components:
Seagate Ultra Mobile HDD. Just 5mm thin, the Ultra Mobile HDD is designed to be integrated into ultra-thin, lightweight mobile computing devices and tablets while delivering high-capacity storage at an affordable price. It includes a built-in sensor to protect the drive when dropped or bumped.
Reference Design. A customised reference design covers the physical mounting of the hard drive to optimise thermal conditions and further enhance the ruggedness of devices incorporating the Ultra Mobile HDD. The goal of this mounting design is to distribute the force of impacts over a greater period of time to increase the reliability of the hard drive beyond its own physical attributes.
Dynamic Data Driver. Intelligent software developed to best manage the onboard flash in a mobile device along with an integrated hard drive, the Dynamic Data Driver allows the Ultra Mobile HDD to yield equal power consumption to that of systems using just 64GB of flash. The Dynamic Data Driver also supports the active profiles of gamers or on-the-go users of any type, with reliability equal to that of a flash-based system. Our testing shows users are more likely to break the glass or metal of these devices long before affecting their drives. The Dynamic Data Driver helps manage:
- Storage Caching. Working with the kernel-level driver logic of an Android, the Dynamic Data Driver maximises performance and minimises power consumption. Using flash integrated into a tablet (8GB or less) along with the Ultra Mobile HDD, a system-level hybrid design leverages the OS to intelligently cache the most frequently accessed data, preserving system battery life while optimising performance for the instantaneous response users expect in their mobile devices.
- Enhanced Sensors. A collection of sensors and intelligent monitoring firmware track motion and temperature to optimally control the hard drive. In the case of drop detection, the Dynamic Data Driver signals free-fall outside of the standard SATA interface (also available on the Ultra Mobile HDD) for additional protection of the normally susceptible components in a drive.
- Adaptive Energy Optimisation. A drive-monitoring daemon proactively manages the drive power states to maximize drive health and longevity while getting the most out of a system’s battery performance.
It is clear that storage demands in mobile devices will continue to rise. Finding viable alternatives to flash storage is critical from a competitive market standpoint. The Seagate Mobile Enablement Kit supported by the Ultra Mobile HDD and Dynamic Data Driver is the solution. The Seagate Mobile Enablement Kit provides the greatest flexibility for product developers who are building Android devices with large data storage demands or product developers looking for competitive alternatives to SSD-only based high-capacity mobile solutions.