This year at CES 2013, we had a chance to see what Western Digital was cooking for the coming year. They originally showed us some of their planned products for 2013 back at Intel’s IDF.

Now, these products are coming closer to completion and they’re beginning to come in multiple lines of products with varying thicknesses and target markets.

An Alienware system showing off some of WD’s 10,000 RPM VelociRaptors

Western Digital’s approach to the future of storage appears to be a balanced one that integrates both hard drives, SSDs, and hybrid drives that utilize NAND with hard disk spinning platters. This strategy seems to be fairly similar to that of Seagate’s, however, Seagate has not necessarily been as aggressive as WD with their ultra thin hard drives and hybrid drives. At WD’s suite this year, we got to take a look at WD’s latest planned offerings for the Ultrabook and ultra thin notebook market. Western Digital was adamant that we say that these are not quite yet products nor are they being launched, they are exploratory products. We believe that these will obviously become products, but their timeframe is unknown as Western Digital is still working on their first hybrid drives.

Some of WD’s 5mm 500GB HDDs that enable larger capacity Ultrabooks

We believe that WD’s approach is a fairly calculated one as most users still find themselves needing large amounts of storage larger than what current SSDs are capable of delivering. WD’s approach is to pair NAND with hard disk drives to create a single solution that enables caching and capacity. WD showed us some of their updated offerings since what we were shown in September and we must say, we’re impressed and can’t wait to see these in computers soon.

WD’s 1TB WD10SPVX Blue drive is a 7mm 1TB drive for thicker higher performance/larger ultrabooks

WD’s 1TB WD10S13X Black drive is their 7mm Blue drive combined with 24GB of NAND storage to enable caching and to deliver improved boot times and caching capabilities without sacrificing size or capacity. This drive shows Western Digital’s approach to giving users capacity while enabling the best experience and performance that they know how to.

Below, we have a Western Digital 500GB 5mm drive installed inside of one of ASUS’ thinnest Ultrabooks, showing the ability to increase the capacities of Intel’s Ultrabook platform without spending thousands of dollars on large NAND flash solid state drives.

After looking at the bare drives, we got a demo from Western Digital where they compared the different drives in Ultrabooks against an SSD solution.

They then had some of the attendees of the demonstration help time the demo and see which solution was actually faster under normal usage scenarios.

Without revealing the results of Western Digital’s demonstration, we can say that the future of storage will certainly be interesting. Will the storage industry get more interesting as players like Seagate and Western Digital start to venture into solid state? Absolutely.