Tokyo (Japan) - Flash memory devices have pretty much conquered the sub 1.8" mass storage market, but if you are looking for a lot of space for just a few bucks, then hard drives may still be worth a look. 40 GB in a CF II form factor are currently being prepped for a market release.
Price always has been the advantage of hard drives when compared to flash memory cards and USB sticks. But a dramatic price erosion in the flash memory over the past two years forced hard drive makers to surrender the sub 1.8" segment to memory manufacturers. However, flash remains fairly expensive in high-capacity ranges. For example, 16 GB memory cards are currently priced in the $80 to $200 spectrum, depending on card model.
The same or even less money could soon buy Compact Flash II - sized hard drives and appeal to consumers who are simply looking for more capacity and not especially for read/write performance or low power consumption. Showa Denko, one of the world's leading disk manufacturers, today said that it has started "commercial shipments" of 40 GB 1.3" disks, which are small enough to fit into micro HDDs. The increase in capacity was made possible through the use of perpendicular magnetic recording technology, which already has penetrated the 1.8", 2.5" and 3.5" HDD markets.
While the 1.3" media will have a higher power consumption than Compact Flash cards, Showa Denko said claims that the devices will have a lower electricity consumption and higher resistance to shock than 1.89" media-containing drives. The company did not say which hard drive manufacturers have ordered the 1.3" disks and when 40 GB micro hard drives could be available for purchase.