IBM Develops Chip With 500,000-Song Capacity

Apr 11th, 2008 | By | Category: Computer Hardware, General, iPods & Portable Media Players

In a paper published in today’s issue of Science, a team at IBM’s research centre in San Jose, California, said they have developed a new type of digital storage which would enable a device such as an MP3 player to store about half a million songs – or 3,500 films – and cost far less to produce. Just as a point of reference, 500,000 songs is about 12 years of listening 8 hours a day.

Today’s biggest-capacity iPod, the 160 gigabyte model, can store approximately 40,000 songs.

While the idea of a half-million song library in your pocket is impressive, what might be more mind-blowing (and useful) is the enabling of a whole new level of capabilities on ever smaller mobile devices. Imagine carrying around an office-worth of information in a device the size of a pack of chewing gum…

Devices employing this “racetrack” memory technology, which uses “the spin of an electron to store data,” would require much less power and operate more quickly than a regular hard drive. These devices could operate on a single battery charge for “weeks at a time”, and would last for decades.

IBM said the technology was still in the exploratory stage, but that it anticipates that devices which used the technology to be on the market within ten years.

What would you do with a mobile device that could hold the equivalent of half a million songs?

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No Responses to “IBM Develops Chip With 500,000-Song Capacity”

  1. taniaelis says:

    I’d load up on the podcasts and never listen to radio again.

  2. I’d urge rights holders to make mp3s below a quality level free.
    I’d urge everybody to make the “save song to library” button translate to artist payment. Playlist development and sharing becomes important.

    and an option to “pay for hi-quality [music] content when saved to library”

    then you connect, get feeds, store playlists, transact for premium content…

  3. James Lewin says:

    Richard – you’re right – music is likely to become more the sizzle than the steak.

    My question is, when you got half a million songs on a tiny ipod, how are you going to navigate it? That’s an issue that’s going to need some design magic.

  4. eliajan says:

    500,000 songs is just stupid.

  5. […] develops chip with 500,000-song capacity April 13, 2008 — Bob Morris They expect this MP3 player storage chip to be on the market in ten years with what looks to be 1.7 terabytes of storage. By then, virtually […]

  6. […] few stories this week out on the web talking about putting ridiculous amounts of music on an iPod. Podcasting News reported that IBM has developed a chip that can hold 500,000 songs. Ya, that’s a lot, but if […]

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