Western Digital has a history of showcasing cutting-edge technological advancements in the consumer electronics space at CES every year. In 2019, a 4TB thumb drive was demonstrated, and this year, we have a 8TB portable SSD with a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 interface.
As QLC flash becomes more common-place, and the number of layers in 3D NAND keeps increasing, it becomes economically feasible to produce high-capacity compact flash storage devices. In fact, WD presented details of 128L BiCS 5 production wafers at ISSC 2019, though it is not clear if the 8TB prototype being demonstrated at CES 2020 utilizes BiCS 5 flash. In any case, given the size of the prototype (similar to the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSDs already in the market), even BiCS 4 TLC (96L 3D NAND) flash is enough. The choice of TLC or QLC would boil down to economics, and given that this is a techonology demonstration prototype, there is no pricing aspect to consider.
WD also announced some products with retail availability at the show. The SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive Luxe USB Type-C is a 1TB thumb drive that comes with a Type-C male port and a Type-A female port. It is compact enough to fit in a keychain and will be available in late Q1 2020. Pricing has not been announced.
The WD_BLACK line of external storage solutions targeting gamers is also being showcased. The lineup includes the WD_BLACK P50 (one of the first external SSDs to feature a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 20 Gbps interface), the WD_BLACK P10 (external bus-powered 2.5″ hard drive in 1TB, 3TB, and 5TB capacities), and the WD_BLACK D10 (external 8TB 3.5″ 7200 RPM hard drive with a USB 2.0 hub). The P10 and D10 also come in Xbox-branded variants.
The SanDisk ibi photo management device (a cloud-based service with local storage) is also being demonstrated in WD’s CES suite.