Is there a removable disk drive in your future? According to Disk Trend, a disk drive market-analysis firm in the US, manufacturers will ship about 260 million removable drives this year.
Disk Trend sees a decided uptake in removable-drive storage for the next three years. The removable-drive market is expected to reach $US10.2 billion in sales revenues this year and grow 3 to 9 per cent annually to reach $11.9 billion by the year 2002.
But the real trend is in the types of removable drives that are selling and the amount of data they can store. Over the next four years, shipments of DVD-ROM and CD-Rewritable or DVD writable drives are expected to outpace shipments of plain CD-ROM drives, with DVD-ROM drives taking their place.
But along with the surge in DVD-ROM drive shipments will be equivalent growth in writable removable drives - particularly CD-RW and DVD writable drives. Disk Trend principal James Porter doesn't think that DVD rewritables will overtake CD-based rewritables in that time frame because he doesn't expect standards for formats in the DVD market to have settled down by then.
Revenues from sales of CD-ROM drives are expected to plummet from $4.3 billion in 1998 to as low as $803 million in 2002. Meanwhile, sales revenues for DVD-ROM drives are expected to grow from $650 million to $4.2 billion in 2002, while those for writable drives are expected to grow from $1.3 billion in 1998 to $3.3 billion in 2002.
Slow dance at the low end. At the other end of the market, the trend isn't so pronounced. Disk Trend expects the lowly 1.4MB floppy disk to fade from the scene slowly and be replaced by the two prevalent large-format removables, the Zip drive and the SuperDrive. The combined sales of Zip and SuperDrive drives are expected to grow from $847 million in 1998 to $1.1 billion in 2002. In 1998, 83.6 per cent of these drives shipped were Zip drives, and the rest were SuperDisk.
Not surprisingly, the biggest growth areas are in removable formats that can store vastly more data. File sizes are growing constantly, and digital still images, audio, and digital video files take up far more space than older formats can handle.
"Rewritable drives are used for more specialised applications than CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives, and they are never going to be in the majority because they will always be priced higher than the simpler DVD-ROM drives," Porter predicts.