Eight companies form removable hard disk consortium

Eight major electronics companies have formed a consortium aimed at standardizing and popularizing a new removable hard disk system based around 2.5-inch drives for use in computer and consumer electronics.

Members of the iVDR (Information Versatile Disk for Removable usage) consortium include some of the biggest names in Japanese electronics: Canon Inc., Fujitsu Ltd., Hitachi Ltd., Phoenix Technologies KK, Pioneer Corp., Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd., Sharp Corp. and Victor Co. of Japan (JVC). Two manufacturing companies, FCI Japan KK and Mitsumi Electric Co. Ltd. are supporting the consortium but are not members.

"The concept is that technology for hard disks is rising fast and people are getting stuck with the capacity they have. The new system will allow users to add extra capacity as they need it," said a source familiar with the consortium's plans.

As broadband Internet connectivity spreads and digital video and audio become more popular, engineers are pushing the capacity of hard disks higher. In January, Toshiba Corp. demonstrated a working prototype of a 2.5-inch hard disk drive which packs 35.1G bits of data into one square inch of disk space. A little further away from commercialization, Fujitsu last year provided a glimpse into the future when it announced its researchers had achieved a data density of 100G bits per square inch in the laboratory.

The companies plan to officially unveil the consortium and their work to date on Wednesday this week.

They are not the only ones looking into such a system. At the same time as demonstrating its higher capacity hard disk last month, Toshiba researchers also demonstrated a prototype removable hard disk drive and companion consumer video recorder.

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