By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: The days of a PC being a utilitarian device for work and gaming are fast receding, and the emergence and proliferation of professional and user generated content has made both the desktop and the notebook a substitute media centre, microsystem, television and library. The challenge this presents is where to keep all the content, both for protection and reference, especially with files becoming larger as PC content grows in quality.

Anecdotal evidence suggests modern computer aficionados – those you can downloads swathes of HD content on their superfast internet connections – are humanoid bower birds, sans the blue obsession. For these users, storage of their Dexter in HD seasons and illicit Avatar in 3D files is not a temporary equation. In order to hold on for future reference, investment must be made in additional hardware.

David Chua, the director of Hitachi’s Global Storage Technologies business, was in Sydney yesterday talking to the local media about why Hitachi is making a serious investment in this category. Chua is a Malaysian native who travels throughout South East Asia and the Sub-Continent espousing the benefits of external hard drives for modern computer users.

“Personal data growth is strong,” said Chua. “By 2010, 70 per cent of digital content will be individually created.

“From Quarter 2 2008 to Quarter 2 2009, there was a 400 per cent increase in netbooks, and netbooks need additional storage. One size does not fit all.”

Chua said the target markets for Hitachi in Australia were college and university students, home PCs, business users and the channel. Its local distributor is Altech Computers, which is headquartered in Sydney and has warehouses in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane. At launch, Hitachi’s storage solutions will be available primarily through resellers, though there are currently discussions with general electrical retailers to stock the products.

For those not fully across Hitachi’s involvement in storage technology, Chua outlined the group’s credentials. He said revenue was $5.6 billion in 2008. Furthermore, he reported Hitachi has over 3,000 storage patents in the United States, and that figure is growing at a rate of around 300 per year.

As for category growth, Chua said the external hard drive market was current growing at 18 per cent, with expected sales of around 120 million by 2012.

For information on Hitachi’s new storage range, click here.