Hitachi to Boost Microdrive Size to 10GB; iPod Candidate?

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Inc. (HGST) plans to boost the capacity of its one-inch Microdrive hard-disk drive to eight and 10 gigabytes (GB) later this year, the company revealed Wednesday. The announcement starts speculation of beefier Apple iPod models for the future, as the digital media device maker currently uses Hitachiis MicroDrive in the iPod mini.

At present Hitachiis biggest capacity Microdrive holds 4GB of data. The new drives will hold 8GB up to 10GB, Bill Healy, senior vice president of product strategy and marketing of HGST told The Mac Observer. With a physical dimension of 40 x 30 x 5 millimeters, the new drive (see photo below) is designed for the smallest handheld devices with needs for ample, yet, affordable storage.

"We think weive found the right balance of capacity and price to bring these products now to market," Mr. Healy said. "Weire excited about the potential for these higher capacity drives."

As capacity of the new drives increases, actual physical size will go down about 20%, Mr. Healy said. The biggest reduction in space, he said, was due to a totally re-designed connector that reduces the number of pins by 25% using a zero insertion force connector.

Hitachiis old and new 1" drives

Mr. Heasly commented that as drive capacity increases, the possibilities of its use in a variety of electronics products will increase.

"Cell phones, televisions, portable video devices. You name it, there are now great possibilities as we continue to increase capacity," he said.

With the news will come rumors of Apple possibly using the higher capacity drives in future iPod and iPod mini digital media devices. At present, Apple uses Hitachi drives in the iPod mini, and Toshiba drives in the standard iPod.

The company also announced a 3.5-inch, 500GB drive that the company said offers a greater storage capacity than any drive from its competitors. The driveis main target will be use in digital video recorders and set-top boxes, Mr. Healy said.