Intel pushing SSD as hard-drive shortage hits revenues

Intel is hoping to leverage the hard-drive shortage to drive its SSD business, in the attempt to offset its slashed Q4 revenue estimates after lower than expected processor sales. The chip company warned yesterday that the Thai flooding – and an ensuing reduction in new computers being built – could knock $1bn off its next set of financial results; however, Intel CFO Stacy Smith also reckons there's an opportunity there to push another aspect of the company's business, the NYTimes reports. Intel will "be using this as an opportunity" Smith confirmed.

Although Intel is best known for its processor line-up, with chips for everything from performance desktops through notebook sand ultraportables and into low-power netbooks and embedded devices, the company also has a solid-state drive division. Intel's SSDs and NAND flash storage has received positive reviews in general, and found its way into several enterprise data centers, though relatively high prices still mean HDDs dominate the storage marketplace.

A shortage of HDDs, however, could help turn that around. "So far we have not seen a big uptake in demand for SSDs" Smith conceded this week, ZDNet reports, going on to suggest that "I do expect that to happen."

"I think that it will be one of the ways that the industry helps offset some of the HDD shortage; and I also think if you go out towards the end of 2012, and you think about notebook computer at the end of 2012, which is very thin, very light, very power efficient, Ultrabook class machine, SSDs become really important in that." Stacy Smith, CFO, Intel

Intel's most obvious current strategy for driving SSD adoption is the ultrabook segment, a rebranding of the ultraportable notebook category that mandates such basic features as pairing one of the company's own processors with solid-state storage, housed in a sub-0.8-inch thick chassis. Several manufacturers have risen to the challenge, including Toshiba, Acer and Lenovo, though so far pricing has kept them out of the mainstream.