Will They Really Modu?

I’ve been in Tel Aviv for almost two days and I still haven’t been able to shake off the jet lag, mostly because I’ve been so busy catching up with old friends, making new ones, and learning all I can about what’s going on in this tiny country, which has the highest number of startups outside of Silicon Valley. Here, working for a tech company is as much a part of life as being a member of the Israel Defense Forces.

I typically write about a startup after hearing about it from many different sources. It doesn’t matter if the chatter is positive or negative; if people make mention of a company, unprompted, in casual conversation, there’s almost always a good story behind it. These days Israelis are talking about Modu.

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R.I.P. SanDisk’s TakeTV, Fanfare Shut Down

TakeTV, we hardly knew ye. Unveiled just last October, SanDisk’s USB PC-to-TV video device along with Fanfare, its accompanying content portal, were both shut down on May 15th, a SanDisk spokesperson has confirmed.

The official party line is that TakeTV was no longer a priority for SanDisk as the company focuses on being at the hub of mobile entertainment. Translation: No one bought the device. It’s easy to understand why; SanDisk was outgunned and outnumbered on this set-top bet.

Though Om liked it, and SanDisk billed the device as an easy way to transport content from the web to your TV, it had two things going against it:

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Samsung Says Thin Is In

The memory business is a volatile one, driven by consumer demand for products like MP3 players and rapid obsolescence. That’s why the gradual move of solid-state storage drives based on NAND flash memory into the PC is so interesting. Now that those drives are bigger, at 64GB and soon 128GB, memory makers can flatten out some of the volatility seen in the consumer market by putting them into corporate laptops where demand is less influenced by economic cycles.

Most solid-state memory for PCs ends up in rugged or sexy high-end laptops such as the new MacBook Air, which is offered with either an 80GB hard drive or a 64GB SSD, and the Lenovo x300, which comes with a 64GB solid-state drive made by Samsung. The lack of moving parts makes a solid-state drive much more durable for rugged machines and the smaller size of flash drives means they can allow for thinner, lighter laptops.

In addition to revealing that its solid-state drive was in the x300, Samsung has unveiled a traditional 500GB hard drive that contains three disks crammed into a 9.5 mm-high drive. Andy Higginbotham (no relation), director of hard drive sales and marketing at Samsung, says this gives Samsung a leg upon density as the competition can only fit two disks in that space.

And if a user pops two of these in a notebook, he added, suddenly they’re walking around with a terabyte of storage (that could store 120 hours of HD video or 320,000 images). In a laptop. Think about how much confidential data someone could store on it, only to have stolen out of their car. It boggles the mind.