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June 23rd, 2011

In the mid 1960s, Star Trek featured some futuristic Outpacing Star Trektechnology we will never see (faster-than-light travel) but also predicted the development of  “memory cards,” with Capt. Kirk and the crew plugging domino-sized storage devices into the (talking) computer. These accurately foreshadowed today’s flash memory, whose status as a “standard” was assured only after card slots appeared on iMac rentals.

Interestingly, flash memory didn’t even make the list of “Top 10 ‘Star Trek’ Technologies that Actually Came True” – check it out, it’s a cool list! And if you think that Mr. Spock’s Tricorder looks quite a bit like one of CRE’s iPad rentals, well, you’d be right.

Flash review

Flash memory was introduced in the late 1980s. There are various form factors – CompactFlash, Sony MemoryStick, etc. – but the most popular appears to be SecureDigital. The latest generation of  SDXC cards have capacities up to 2TB. The popular SDHC cards hold from 4 to 32GB of data, and slots are built into many of CRE’s computer rentals.

These slots are turning up on most (not all) new Macintoshes, too. Apple may not be the earliest adopter of new tech all the time, but when the company adds a feature to the Mac line, you can be sure it’s been widely tested and is a true standard. These slots are now in CRE’s iMacs and MacBook Pro rentals, as well as Mac minis.

Flash forward

Due to its insanely successful products, Apple has passed HP and every other electronics/tech manufacturer to become the largest consumer of semiconductors on the planet. A market research firm reports that Apple spent $17.5 billion on semiconductors in 2010, an astonishing 79.6% increase over what it bought in 2009. And don’t get started on Apple dominating touchscreen purchases – that’s enough for a whole other blog (on its way soon).

Apple uses flash memory for Solid State Drives (SSDs) in iPods, iPhones and the crazy-popular iPads, making Apple the world’s top purchaser of flash memory. Measured against the total amount used, about one-eighth (11.9%) will end up in tablets and by 2014, tablets will account for 16% of all flash memory. After that, who knows?

Future flash

Who knows – and how? The way companies spend money yields clues about their plans. Where’s Apple headed? Well, the firm spent more than 60% of its 2010 semiconductor budget on wireless “iDevices” while Hewlett-Packard spent over 80% of its semiconductor budget on servers, desktops and notebooks. These are two very different approaches, but it may take both to build Star Fleet. We’ll keep you posted!

While you’re waiting for the 23rd century, CRE has your convention rentals and high-end post-production gear, too. Our expert Account Executives are ready to help you right now, by phone or e-mail – or use the Quick Rental Quote form for even faster service. We are ready to help, right now!

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