Seagate Technology LLC has unveiled a line-up of new hard disk drives that it expects to launch in the second half of this year, including its first 1-inch drive for portable consumer electronics devices.
Seagate anticipates the new drives will expand its range so that it competes in 95 percent of the estimated $22 billion per year global hard-disk drive storage market, according to Takeshi Kobayashi, president of Seagate's Japan unit, speaking at a news conference in Tokyo. At present the company estimates it competes in about 70 percent of the market
Seagate's 1-inch drive plans make it the second major hard disk drive maker to enter this part of the market, which is currently dominated by Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Inc. (HGST) and its MicroDrive products. Other companies making such drives include Chinese start-up GS Magicstor Inc. and Colorado-based Cornice Inc.
At present the drives are almost exclusively used embedded into digital music players or in a Compact Flash (CF) form-factor case in high-end digital still cameras. Apple Computer Inc. uses HGST's drive in its recently launched iPod Mini music player and Cornice has found a number of customers for its drive, including iRiver Co. Ltd. and Digitalway Co. Ltd., for use in MP3 players.
Seagate expects to launch its 1-inch drive in the third quarter of this year and will offer it in two versions, one for embedded use and one in a CF case. The drive will come in two capacities: 2.5GB and 5GB. That could put Seagate ahead of its competitors in terms of capacity. The current highest capacity 1-inch drive available is a 4GB model from HGST.
Wednesday's announcement also included products aimed at existing sectors of the market including the fast-growing consumer digital video recorder sector and core computing sector.
The DB35 series consists of three drives and is targeted at the digital video recorder and home media server market. The drives have capacities of 250GB, 300GB, and 400GB. In the case of the highest capacity drive this works out to up to 400 hours of standard definition television or 44 hours of high-definition television, according to Seagate, although recording time depends on the amount of compression used. The 7,200 rpm (revolutions per minute) drives will be available with ATA or Serial ATA (SATA) interface and will be available in the third quarter.
Also announced were three new drives aimed at use in desktop and notebook personal computers.