Higher capacity music players and laptop computers could be on the way thanks to a new hard-disk drive from Toshiba that manages a 25 percent jump in storage space over current models.
The new 1.8-inch hard-disk drive can store 100G bytes of information whereas current models hold a maximum of 80G bytes. The drives are about the same size as a PC Card and are commonly used in music players, like Apple Computer's iPod, and compact laptop computers.
Toshiba plans to start mass producing the drives in January next year. The company doesn't sell them direct to end-users but to other companies for integration into their products. In the past device makers have typically incorporated higher capacity drives quickly into their products.
The drive will be on show at the Consumer Electronic Show, which takes place in Las Vegas from Jan. 8 to 11.
Toshiba first developed a 1.8-inch drive in 2000. The device, which was at the time the highest capacity such drive available, could hold up to 2G bytes of data and cost around YEN 80,000 (US$740 at the time). Today the drives have not only risen in capacity but also fallen in price to the point where an Apple iPod, which includes an 80G-byte drive and color screen, costs US$349.