Next Xbox to skip hard drive?

Flash memory maker M-Systems announced on Wednesday that it has signed a contract to provide storage products for future versions of the Xbox, bolstering speculation that Microsoft may ditch the game console's hard drive.

M-Systems, best known for its DiskOnKey line of flash drives, which attach to a PC's Universal Serial Bus port, said in a statement that it has signed an agreement with Microsoft to develop "customized memory units for future Xbox products and services." Ronit Maor, chief financial officer at Israel-based M-Systems, said the company could not discuss details of the contract. But Maor said the devices under development would be of significantly higher capacity than the 8MB Xbox memory units Microsoft currently sells to save game and user data. "What we're going to offer for the Xbox doesn't currently exist," Maor said.

The M-Systems announcement comes shortly after Microsoft revealed plans for expanding Xbox Live, the online game service it runs, to include limited online storage capabilities. The combination has bolstered speculation that Microsoft will drop the hard drive from the next version of the Xbox to cut production costs for the money-losing console.

News source: C|Net

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