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Fuji unveils 0.8in hard disk

HDDs for cellphones in three to four years?

Japan's Fuji Electric this month revealed the latest development in the ongoing shrinkage of hard disks: the 2cm (0.8in) platter.

The current standard in micro disks is the 2.5cm (1in) platter.

Drives based on the platter are already in development, Fuji said, though commercial products are still some way off. Fuji expects them to be used in handheld devices like cellphones and PDAs, which have traditionally been drive-less products.

Each platter is fractionally larger than 2cm and just 0.4mm thick. The magnetic medium Fuji is using provides a data density of 80Gb per square inch, allowing the disk to offer an unformatted capacity of 6GB.

That's more than today's affordable solid-state memory cards can provide, but Fuji believes that's still not enough to persuade manufacturers to use the device in place of memory cards, according to a Nikkei Electronics Asia report. It claims that the demand for high-capacity cards will have driven memory card vendors to offer that sort of capacity by the time Fuji can bring its disk to market.

There's another problem: as it stands, the drive records data longitudinally, which has a limit of 200Gb per square inch, Fuji said. It wants to develop a version using a perpendicular recording system, which should boost the data density to 400Gb per square inch, allowing the company to offer 30GB disks - much more competitive with Flash-based storage products.

Fuji reckons it will take three or more years yet to make that change and to design and develop the equipment needed to mass-produce the disks. ®

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