Toshiba has developed a hard-disk drive that measures 0.85 of an inch in diameter, smaller than the record 1-inch HDD that Hitachi Global Storage Technologies released in November, company sources said.
The drive, which is small enough to be used in mobile phones, can store up to two hours of high-definition moving images and just under 60 hours of music. Its tiny size will likely lead to the development of extremely small video cameras.
The 1-inch HDD developed by the US affiliate of Hitachi Ltd is used in digital single-lens reflex cameras and other products, but it is too big for mobile phones. Despite the smaller size, Toshiba's HDD has a storage capacity of 2-3GB, equal to 2,000 floppy disks.
Toshiba aims to start shipping samples to makers of cellular phones in summer 2004 and begin full-fledged production in early 2005 at its Ome, Tokyo plant. After order volume rises, production will be moved to its HDD plant in the Philippines.
The company expects each drive to cost around 30,000 yen initially, but projects that mass production will push down the price to less than 10,000 yen within a few years.
Global HDD sales are expected to total about 220 million units in 2003, with 3.5-inch products, supplied mainly by US producers, accounting for more than 80% of them. But for HDDs of 2.5 inches or less, now enjoying surging demand for use in cellular phones, digital home appliances and car navigation systems, Japanese makers are the dominant players in the market.