Las Vegas (NV) - Today, we were shown Toshiba's latest 0.85" micro hard drive models, along with some products that may depend on it. The miniature drive has an approximate size of three stapled US quarters, and hosts 4 Gb of storage. Future generations will move to 8 Gb and more, thanks to perpendicular recording technology that Toshiba has already been using for its 1.8" hard drive family.
All of Toshiba's new models only revolve at 3,600 RPM, and come with zero cache memory and a proprietary interface. Yet performance should be good enough for a large number of consumer applications. The first product we were shown is a USB drive that has the size and shape of a cigarette lighter. Second was an Imation-brand model which works pretty similarly, has better quality, but looks like a large key fob or keychain, which not everyone will like. A compact DV camera, for instance, can use the 4 Gb 0.85" model to store a few hours of video at medium quality. Price-wise, the drive should be very competitive compared with conventional Flash memory, although most Flash solutions should perform a bit better. However, the drive cannot yet be purchased retail, and for now is available to OEMs.