New CE-ATA Storage Interface Building Steam

Progress with Industry, Spec Good News for Next-Gen CE, Handhelds

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW (CES), Las Vegas, Jan. 5, 2005 - CE-ATA, the storage interface for next-generation handhelds and portable consumer electronics devices, has reached a number of milestones that underscore progress made with the specification and the industry since the initiative was launched at the Intel Developer Forum in September.

The most recent development, announced at CES, is an arrangement between the CE-ATA Promoter Group and the MultiMediaCard Association (MMCA), the organization that promotes the worldwide adoption of a compact, removable standard for storing and retrieving digital information in small, low-power devices. The two groups will collaborate to ensure that the technologies they support are complimentary and address the needs of the storage industry in providing an interface that is ideally suited to portable consumer applications.

"Cooperation between the CE-ATA and MMCA organizations creates new opportunities for a highly optimal storage interface solution for portable consumer applications," said Knut Grimsrud, chairman of the CE-ATA working group and Intel Corporation senior principal engineer. "By working together, we can deliver a solution that not only provides the best solution for highly integrated storage devices, but also provides the greatest degree of interoperability and compatibility with the MMCA technology. The CE-ATA specification builds on MMCA technology that will be used as the underlying communication interface."

Added MMCA Executive Director Scott Herbert, "By building on our respective strengths and technologies, the MMCA and CE-ATA organizations can provide the best and fastest time-to-market solution for disk drives in next-generation portable consumer electronics devices."

The CE-ATA Promoter Group represents some of the most prominent and capable companies in the small form factor disk drive and handheld consumer market segments. The promoter group includes Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, Intel, Marvell Semiconductor, Nokia Corporation, Seagate Technology and Toshiba America Information Systems.

No disk drive interface exists today that is tailored to the needs of the handheld and CE market segments. CE-ATA addresses this deficiency. Members are jointly defining a standard interface for small form factor disk drives that addresses requirements inherent to such small devices, including low pin count, low voltage, power efficiency, cost effectiveness and integration efficiency.

Another significant milestone for CE-ATA at CES is the completion and distribution of a release candidate of the core protocol specification to CE-ATA members. The final 1.0 spec is on track to be ratified and published in the first half of this year as originally committed at the launch of the initiative. The first end products supporting the new technology could be available as early as late 2005.

More progress out of CES is Marvell Semiconductor's technology demonstration that illustrates key CE-ATA interface fundamentals. (Marvell's booth is located at South Hall, #35346.) Marvell's demo of a working prototype system signifies the rapid progress the organization is making toward delivering CE-ATA end products in the latter half of this year, according to Dr. Alan J. Armstrong, vice president of marketing for Marvell's Storage Division.

About CE-ATA
The benefits of CE-ATA are many. From an industry perspective, small form factor disk drive suppliers can take advantage of a storage interface tailored to the needs of such devices, resulting in highly optimized disk drive designs. Host silicon providers and product integrators will also benefit from the improved integration that the tailored interface affords due to its low pin count, favorable voltages and efficient protocol. For consumers, a disk drive interface tailored to the needs of the handheld and portable consumer market segments could spur storage use in innovative new products and lead to products with a more efficient storage solution.

The CE-ATA Working Group was launched in September 2004 to develop a storage interface tailored to the needs of small form factor disk drives in portable consumer electronics applications. Including the aforementioned promoter group representatives, the CE-ATA Working Group has a current membership of 28 companies. Visit www.ce-ata.org for more information.

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