KitGuru has seen an interview with a Western Digital VP who claimed that the SSD would never seriously impact the sale of hard drives because the cost was so high. The world has spun through space several times since then and now SSD is very affordable. KitGuru puts Steve Hall, Kingston’s Product Development Manager for EMEA onto the hot seat and cranks the lights to maximum. He’ll crack. We’re sure. And our devilish instruments will be there to capture any useful information he leaks.
We started with the price cuts that are likely with SSD, Hall replied “While products are performing faster and faster, there is a real downward trend on price. Since Solid State Drives were first introduced to the market, we’ve seen a 50% price reduction year on year”.
In most economics lessons, they will tell you that there is a relationship between price and the number of units shipper. Hall confirmed this for KitGuru, “In 2009, SSD accounted for less than 2% of Kingston’s revenues. In 2010 it’s going to be around 10% of our revenues”.
OK, so the price went down and demand went up, but how much more SSD product is Kingston shipping? Hall told us “It’s been amazing. From the start, Kingston has been seeing an increase in SSD shipments of around 300% quarter on quarter”.
While KitGuru Labs regularly play with 256GB and 512GB SSD products, our casual testing has revealed that you can get a decent system up and running with a 64GB drive. We put this to Hall, “Well price is a big issue here. Smaller drives can definitely serve a useful purpose, but when Kingston’s 128GB drives drop to just over £100 by the end of 2010, then we believe there will be strong interest, from experts and casual users alike, to move across to SSD”. So Kingston is predicting a movement in sweet spot to 128GB. Sounds logical to KitGuru.
We asked Hall why Kingston was such a popular choice, he replied “In the 20 years that Kingston has been helping to drive the memory market forward, we have always been seen as a performance-upgrade. The kind of memory product customers choose when they want a boost. SSD plays perfectly into that expectation. Boot from a Kingston SSD and your world is definitely a better place. Better, faster and a lot more responsive”.
“We’re seeing a tipping point being reached with SSD pricing and availability. Soon enough, it will be unusual for a system to boot from an old hard drive. Memory is so much better”.
For mere mortals, it’s hard to get a handle on just how big Kingston is, as a company. Here’s some food for thought: In terms of overall revenue, Kingston’s quarters are comparable with those of chip giant AMD. Overall AMD is bigger, but some of their quarterly results are really similar. While AMD is selling a wide range of products, from CPUs and graphics chips to mainboard chipsets, Kingston’s revenue centres on memory. In a word, it’s big.
Hall explained the company’s drive, “Our goal is simple. We want to grow our SSD business faster than the market itself is growing, thereby capturing market share and enhancing our position as THE provider of cost effective system upgrades for the corporate and consumer customer”.
We all know that, with SSD, memory is just part of the equation. Hall unveiled his company’s multi-point strategy, “Kingston will continue to invest in matching the best controllers with the best NAND memory to create faster and more efficient drives. Alongside straight capacity increases, we are also likely to see additional form factors and features appearing such as 1.8” drives and encrypted drives”.
We also asked him about Kingston’s plans for USB3.
Hall said, “With capacities now moving beyond 32GB, transferring data to and from devices like digital cameras can be a tedious experience with USB2. Products like Kingston’s DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 are aimed at early adopters who already have, or plan to, purchase a PC with a USB 3.0 interface”.
“Initially this market will be confined to gamers, IT enthusiasts and those storing and sharing large amounts of music, games, videos and pictures”, said Hall. “It’s going to be most beneficial with HD video, large scale system back-ups and for moving files to be used with Adobe applications and AutoCAD”, he explained.
Before we said goodbye to Kingston’s Steve Hall, we asked him about future products, “In response to high demand for 1600MHz DDR3, we will be launching a limited edition black heat-spreader. We are also pushing more into the extreme enthusiast space with Kingston HyperX H20. These are water cooled modules that provide turbo charged performance at 2,000MHz and 2,133MHz”. Interestingly, when we asked about warranty, Hall replied “Like all HyperX modules, these are guaranteed for life. We’re that confident in the quality of our designs and components”.
Hall paused, considering exactly how much to reveal, then said “Expect new USB security products so too!”
KitGuru says: Thanks to Steve Hall of Kingston Technologies for taking the time to give us this exclusive insight into the future plans of the world’s biggest memory company.
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