Ali Chiu, Sales Deputy Manager – Middle East, ADATA Technology discusses the company’s partnership with distributor Simal Technologies and focus in the region
Can you elaborate on the Middle East focus for ADATA and your partnership with SIMAL Technologies?
Simal Technologies is a newly named IT distribution wing formed by TwinMOS Management with co-operation of leading brands. SIMAL and ADATA have reached mutual understanding vital to successful business cooperation from the very beginning. ADATA, as a leading manufacturer of memory and storage products with a worldwide reputation, along with SIMAL that benefits from the years of experience in distribution logistics and memory products by TwinMOS, means that our high performance and reliable DRAM and SSD products are now widely available to consumers in the Middle East. We aim to increase ADATA brand exposure and actively promote our products in Middle East markets, just as we’ve been doing elsewhere in the world for over 15 years.
Is there a significant market for premium-designed USB Flash drive products with enhanced security features?
Big Data is a foundation of contemporary technological society, with everything we read, post, or browse leaving a trail on the internet. These trails may become business opportunities, but most people are more concerned with their privacy, leading to a demand for enhanced security to protect personal and business data. Even with the internet of things being everywhere, offline is still obviously the safest way to transfer data, as opposed to cloud services. We expect demand for physical, offline, high quality and very secure Flash drives will grow alongside online services. Overall, it may be niche compared to mainstream Flash drives, but premium and secure portable storage will grow in popularity as an alternative backup for online data.
Are 64GB and higher capacity Flash drives popular with consumers?
With the increasing demand for 4K/8K video, high resolution photos, lossless music, and growing AR/VR markets, high capacity storage devices are becoming a must for more users globally. In the Middle East, we have seen that the demand for 16GB USB Flash drives has exceeded previously popular 4GB and 8GB models in mid-2016 for the first time. We predict that 16GB and 32GB will become mainstream in mid-2017, while 64GB and higher capacities will take that role shortly after, perhaps as early as 2018.
What can you tell us about USB Type-C drives and the opportunities they present?
USB Type-C is able to transfer data, power, video, and audio all in one cable. Therefore, ADATA considers it a major step forward for connectivity and a gateway to numerous new opportunities via diverse products that better serve and benefit consumers. The new USB-C connector has been widely adopted by major global brands such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft. The reversible USB Type-C connector goes together with the USB 3.1 Gen 2 (“SuperSpeed+”) data standard, bringing customers speeds up to 10Gbps. That means the reversible connector is more than easy to plug in, as it also marks the arrival of faster data rates and higher quality signal transmission. It is expected that in the near future almost everything, everywhere, will be powered, charged, and connected by USB-C cables. With ADATA’s new adapters, cables, and hubs, users can connect devices with USB-C to various other devices so that functionality is retained. All our cables and adapters use high quality materials to ensure optimized data carrying capabilities. ADATA already has a full range of USB Type-C products: cables, adapters, card readers, hubs, OTG Flash drives, and external SSDs. We will also launch power banks and other products with USB-C starting this December and going forward.
Can you comment on recent consumer product releases that are especially important to ADATA?
Two primary areas we’re focusing on are 3D NAND and M.2 form factor SSDs, often combined. These developments offer consumers products that perform better, are more reliable, and more efficient than the solid state drives of the preceding decade. The SU800 SSD (part of our Ultimate series) is our first mass-produced 3D NAND SSD, enabling us to offer drives in 512GB and above without increasing the cost to consumers. In other words, a similarly-sized 2D NAND SSD would cost exponentially more. The SU800 marks the transition to 3D NAND as a company-wide strategy for ADATA, and for the industry as a whole. In addition to being denser and more reliable, the SU800 is also slightly faster than comparable 2D NAND SSDs. As a mainstream SSD for first time upgraders or customers that are looking for additional storage, the SU800 offers a much better entry point than previous mainstream non-stacked drives. Sales are so far very good, and we plan to expand our 2.5” 3D NAND drive range in coming months.
Probably a more exciting product, the SX8000 is our first 3D NAND M.2 2280 SSD, using PCI Express Gen 3 x4 and premium MLC Flash. This is a high performance product for enthusiasts and early adopters, as the move to PCIe SSD is still in its early days. The M.2 form factor obviously offers many advantages, such as a more direct link with the motherboard for reduced latency and no cable management, plus lower energy consumption. The 1TB SX8000 reaches 2400MB/s read and 1000MB/s write, roughly five times faster than typical SSDs for the former and twice for the latter. This is a huge step forward for performance seekers. We finally have SSDs that come close to saturating interface bandwidth, providing data rates previously unheard of. Of course, we plan to keep improving here as well, and will have even faster M.2 2280 PCIe SSDs with updated controllers and improved Flash. It’s important for us to emphasize to customers that M.2 is fully realized with PCIe SSDs, since M.2 SATA is only marginally faster than 2.5” versions. However, we are very optimistic: with 3D NAND and M.2 becoming mainstream and developing rapidly, we are moving into a new phase in SSD adoption and utilization.
Will your range of industrial products for applications such as kiosks and retail will also be available through SIMAL Technologies for clients in the region?
Yes, of course. As you know, ADATA offers more than consumer products. We have a diverse industrial solution portfolio that has already become widely adopted by many global companies and brands. Advanced users, enterprises, governments, and system integrators in the Middle East are a very important audience for us. Acting as ADATA’s official distributor, SIMAL will offer the full range of our industrial solutions in the region to best serve customers and create more business opportunities.