Digi Times is reporting that Ritek, the Taiwan-based optical disk maker, announced a 32 GB flash drive under its RiDATA brand for OEM sale. The cool thing: looks like they are charging ~$10/GB for the 16 GB version, although the article isn’t clear on pricing.

A war where most of us will be winners
Over at DRAMeXchange, flash chip spot prices easily support that pricing. The more costly and longer lived Single Level chips are ~$20 for a 16 Gb part or $10/GB. The shorter lived Multi Level chips are just $6/GB.

Q3/07 for SSD notebooks
32 GB is not exciting for the desktop replacement market, but is huge for road warriors. And at that price point it will be attractive. The article quotes an Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) in Taiwan:

. . . Ritek is already shipping the SSD to local notebook ODMs . Although he declined to name specific customers, he said leading notebook ODMs are listed as their customers. He anticipates notebooks featuring RiDATA-branded SSDs will be unveiled in the third quarter of 2007. A minimum of 32GB memory density should be embedded in these upcoming notebooks, he added.

Lin added that Ritek’s SSDs supports Microsoft Vista’s ReadyBoost features.

I bet we’ll see a similar announcement from Samsung in the next few weeks, since they are the likely source of RiDATA’s chips.

Back in the rust belt
It will be interesting to see how the rotating rust crowd reacts. They have to see this as a threat. While not competitive on a $/GB basis, cheap flash disks will be very attractive bundled into long-life lightweight notebooks whose flash drives never fail.

With the increasing availability of wireless broadband and cheap, secure on-line storage from Carbonite and Mozy, many of us will no longer require humongous hard drives on the road. Disk vendors are going to have to come up with some compelling reasons for ultra-light notebook buyers to keep going with disks.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash
As I’ve noted before – see reference below – SSD’s are also a threat to disks in the OLTP and webserver spaces. This announcement ups the threat level. Will the drive vendors build SWOF (Small Write Optimized Flash) into their hard drives to counter? Or will we see Seagate start building flash? This will be interesting.

Just getting into flash?
I’ve written a fair bit about flash. To learn more about what cheap flash drives will mean in servers, check out RAM-based SSD’s Are Toast – Yippie ki-yay!. I covered the implications and math for notebook computers in SSD/ULV: Changing (Battery) Life As We Know It.

Comments, as always, welcome.