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Consumer and miniature electronics devices have been gaining tremendous popularity among end-users in the recent years. There is no surprise that all the companies involved into design of future devices are especially interested in the standardization of all the hardware that is involved into the products that rely on small sizes and long battery life.

At the Intel Developer Forum Spring 2005 Intel Corp. said that just six months after CE-ATA was launched at IDF Fall 2004, a final 1.0 specification had been published for the storage interface for next-generation handhelds and portable consumer electronics devices. Some of Intel’s partners even managed to demonstrate the actual hardware that complies to the new standard.

CE-ATA fills the void in an industry that had been lacking a disk drive interface tailored to the needs of the handheld and CE market segments. The new CE-ATA interface standard for small form factor disk drives addresses requirements inherent to such small devices, including low pin count, low voltage, power efficiency, cost effectiveness and integration efficiency.

The first demo of the CE ATA was held just days ago: Intel, Hitachi and Marvell demonstrated a prototype Intel handheld media player running video off a CE-ATA prototype 1.8” disk drive possibly supplied by Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. The CE-ATA prototype drive is an off-the-shelf 1.8” hard drive re-fitted with Marvell’s small-form-factor chipset and firmware, featuring the 88i6310 SOC, as well as Marvell’s stacked flash, motor controller, switching regulator and preamplifier. The host system used is an Intel development board for a PDA-style handheld that features an Intel PXA270 processor running prototype host driver software developed by Intel. The second demo highlighting key CE-ATA interface fundamentals is being featured in the CE-ATA Working Group booth by Marvell and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. The demo illustrated the capabilities of CE-ATA technology on a prototype PDA platform playing video stored on a Hitachi Travelstar 1.8” hard disk drive, which has been reconfigured with Marvell’s chipset and firmware solution.

The CE-ATA Working Group, which includes the promoters – Apple, Hitachi, Intel, Marvell, Nokia, Seagate and Toshiba – as well as more than 45 member companies. The organization 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.

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