Planned obsolescence, or built-in obsolescence if you
are in the UK, is the decision by a manufacturer to purposely design,
manufacture and distribute a consumer product to become obsolete or
non-functional specifically to force the customer to buy the next
generation of the product. This plan will be implemented before the
'Next Generation' is even off the drawing board. Planned obsolescence
is of course, very beneficial for a manufacturer because it means a
customer can't just buy a product once and have it last for many years
thereby never having to buy again - the life of the product's
usefulness or functionality is fixed, so that at regular intervals the
customer must pay money again and again, and yet again to either the
original manufacturer for newer junk, or buy from the competition who
probably also uses planned obsolescence.
I can't believe we are
still using motors and movable parts that wear out. The technological
advances of the last few years have led to media that can hold Giga
bytes of data in volatile and non volatile storage with no moving parts.
So, does BluRay fit into this scenario? That remains to be seen because the new technology is so fresh.
most intense competition in the next-gen optical video disc format wars
is between HD-DVDs and Blu-ray. Blu-ray is backed by the Blu-ray Disc
Association, of which Sony is a member. Not only a format for HD video
and audio, Blu-Ray is a higher-capacity storage format. HD DVD at this
point is being out sold by Blu-ray. Blu-ray has sold 500,000 more discs.
this just a case of 'The Newest Toy' or 'Grass is Greener'? You can
expect Blu-Ray to parallel the rising popularity of HDTV and it may
replace legacy systems unless the onrush of other new toys overtakes
Blu-Ray. If you are an audiophile you may remember when DAT (Digital
Audio Tape) was anticipated as the be all, end all of sound. Today DAT
is used in some tape backup situations and not much else.
If a 10-year life span for the Blu-ray format is projected, what comes next? Very likely another phase of planned obsolescence.
is the future, count on it, it does however have hurdles to pass before
it can replace spinning drives. A Solid State Drive (SSD) is a
non-magnetic alternative to a spinning drive. SSD is based on flash
memory. Unlike a traditional drives with spinning magnetic media and
flying read/write heads, a SSD is designed with flash memory and needs
no moving parts.
The major difference between these storage media
is that SSD is not optical (like a CD/DVD) or magnetic (like a floppy,
zip or hard disk) but is a solid state semiconductor much like EPROM or
battery backed RAM.
This is not new technology. It's been around
for 20 years in other applications. NAND flash memory is the core
technology of the removable USB storage units called USB flash drives,
as well as many memory cards available today. 65-nanometer and low
voltage chip technology have allowed manufacturers to make smaller
versions of the traditional flash chips. In functionality, NAND can
simply be considered a silicon version of a spinning disk drive. This
is known as a Solid State Drive, SSD or Solid State Disk, a volatile or
non-volatile solid-state memory device used as electronic storage for
While not technically a disk, the label Solid State Disk is
used in that the device can be used as a replacement for the disk drive
in many modern applications. SSDs are a viable substitute for the
common spinning disk drive, which has moving parts causing slower
memory access. SSD doesn't have the mechanical limitations that limit
search times on magnetic or optical drives, so the concept of an SSD
drive is appealing when considering noise, speed, power consumption,
Considered a drawback in PC disk replacement
NAND flash memory allows only sequential access while NOR flash memory
allows random access. In storage and playback of video entertainment
this may eventually be a non issue.
The SSD can read 300 percent
faster (53 Mb/s) and write 150 percent quicker (28 Mb/s), more than
twice the speed of comparable spinning drives. SSD is an innovative
NAND flash-based equivalent for traditional disk drives. It is capable
of reading data at a rate of 56 Mb/s and writing speeds of 32 Mb/s, two
times as fast as standard drives.
Plus and Minus for SSD:
- Limited write cycles.
Flash storage will typically wear out after 100,000-300,000 write
cycles, while high endurance Flash storage is often marketed with
endurance of 1-5 million write cycles (many log files, file allocation
tables, and other commonly used parts of the file system exceed this
over the lifetime of a computer). Special file systems or firmware
designs can mitigate this problem by spreading writes over the entire
device, rather than rewriting files in place.
**If the software
or firmware intelligently staggers writes over the entire device, for
large SSDs, even with continuous writes, the endurance limit may not be
reached for decades. Envision your favorite movie or movies on SSD.
Write cycles per cell = 1. If you erase and write over the old
recording that's 2 more. Or the Entertainment may be on a Flash Stick
and plugged into a player with a SSD for output to your entertainment
- Price -
of early 2007, flash memory prices are still considerably higher per
gigabyte than those of comparable conventional drives - around $10 per
GB compared to about $0.30 for mechanical drives.
**As with any
new technology, once manufacturers sense a demand and manufacturing
cycles are optimized prices will come down. One of my early 'upgrades'
was a 100 Meg hard drive at a cost of an extra $200 dollars over the
original 20 Meg drive. The OLPC XO-1 uses a SSD rather than a
mechanical drive. This is the XO-1 PC Configured as the $100 PC or One
Laptop Per Child - PC. It uses SSD and Linux so Microsoft and legacy
drive makers will try to squelch this innovation.
- Capacity -
The capacity of SSDs tends to be significantly smaller than the capacity of HDDs.
**This will also be mitigated by technological advances, see above note on hard drive upgrade.
- Lower recoverability -
mechanical failure the data is completely lost as the cell is
destroyed, while if normal HDD suffers mechanical failure the data is
often recoverable using expert help.
**Is this mostly a 'Straw
Man'. How often is it worth the recovery price charged by the expert.
For 'Enterprise Systems' where the core business is endangered by loss
of data, Raid Technology is a better and more cost effective solution.
certain types of effects, including abrupt power loss (especially DRAM
based SSDs), magnetic fields and electric/static charges compared to
normal HDDs (which store the data inside a Faraday cage).
**More Straw Man debate.
lost many disk drive formats due to power fluctuations, brown outs etc.
The Faraday Cage can be and should be used where needed. It is not
excluded in the case of SSD. Our daily environment is saturated with RF
and other signals. Some are even calling this a form of pollution. The
system may be vulnerable to EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse), but as this would most likely come from an atomic detonation, your movie would be interrupted anyway.
apply some commonsense. There are far fewer differences in
manufacturing costs of HD DVD and Blu-Ray players than the retail
prices suggest. The differences between BlueRay and DVD will be
promoted and many BlueRay systems will be sold. For the average home
viewer the difference may be barely noticeable. In the HDTV format the
differences won't be evident unless your display is 55" or more. I know
that if you spend much time watching commercial TV, the effort to
convince you that we all need 120" screens with Surround Sound and Bass
Boost is hard to resist, but will that marketing effort convince enough
consumers to part with that much cash?
So eventually the battle
will play out. Technologies used by legacy manufacturers will be
pushed. They have the resources and marketing power to keep alive their
profitable version of 'what we need'. Other modes of presenting the
same information are always hard to get off the ground. Performance is
often the deciding factor after the cost is ameliorated and of course
marketing will make or break any product, process or technology
regardless of merit.
A quick summary:
SSD (Solid-State Drive ) i
s an advanced NAND flash component replacement for traditional drive technology.
can be a direct replacement for a mechanical drive. It is also secure and reliable as a method for storing electronic data.
The SSD can read 300 percent faster
(53MB/s) and write 150 percent quicker (28MB/s) more than twice the speed of standard spinning disk drives.
The SSD is extremely rugged,
to stand up to degradation from vibration and shock and at the same
time perform at temperatures in the extreme from -20 to 80 degrees
Celsius, (-4 degree Fahrenheit to 176 degree Fahrenheit).
SSD is already used
in UMPC (ultra-mobile personal computers) and will be included in the OLPC.
been intrigued with Planned Obsolescence since it was adopted as a
strategy by Detroit Auto Manufacturers. They're antiques now, but
Detroit used to turn out great steel automobiles that would last
indefinitely with attention to tune-ups, lube jobs, brake jobs and oil
changes. BTW these Cars could be had for much less than a years salary.