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Seagate’s ex-leader thinks big for small devices

Bill Watkins, former chief executive of Seagate, has joined the board of Vertical Circuits to develop chips for smaller devices.

Storage giant Seagate's former chief executive has joined forces with Vertical Circuits to create large capacity flash memory chips for small devices.

Bill Watkins joined the start-up firm as a board member in March following his shock departure from Seagate back in January of this year after 12 years at the company.

This new focus for Watkins will see him working with Vertical Circuits to create "die-level vertical interconnect technology."

This 3D chip technique allows chips to be stacked vertically meaning less space is needed for interconnects. The chips are then attached together by silver-based "glue" which removes the need for wires. These features together make larger memory volumes more compact and able to fit into smaller devices like MP3 players and mobile phones.

Watkins and chief executive of Vertical Circuit Sunil Kaul, have been discussing this new technology with the press over the weekend. They see the reduction in size that this technology brings as a key player in upcoming releases.

Watkins told the New York Times on Friday: "The thing that has stunned me is how much a Dell or Apple will pay for thinness. There's a big difference for them between 2mm and 1mm on some of this stuff."

Kaul reiterated this point to the New York Times. He said: "The device makers are dying to get that 1.6 mm back" and made the point that this small amount of space could be the difference between a larger battery or a bigger screen on a device.

Kaul said he hoped to announce partnerships using the technology in the next few months and although the company has not made a profit so far he believes this will also happen soon.

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