The Notebook Race
Meanwhile, drive manufacturers are also beginning to re-examine the notebook market, which uses 2.5-inch disk drives, dominated by Hitachi Global Storage and Toshiba. In June, Seagate announced its intention to reenter the notebook market with its first "Momentus" 2.5-inch drives, and Western Digital said in July it had firm plans to design and ship mobile drives. Samsung and Maxtor are being more secretive with their mobile drive plans, but IDCs Reinsel expects both companies to be the next entrants to the market.Maxtors Tufano said the company has already begun developing key technologies in preparation for the undisclosed launch date: the ability to load/unload heads to resist operating shock, plus low-power electronics. WDs Massengill was more specific, saying that the company will require 12 to 18 months to develop and ship a product after the companys announcement in July. Although OEMs have honed their supply chain models, old habits die hard. Trend/Focus Donovan warned that some customers may be hedging their bets, ordering drives from more than one supplier and then preparing to cancel them. "Is the 2.5-inch demand real, or is it double-booking?" he asked. Next page: How consumer electronics will boost the storage industry.
Seagates Watkins said the company has learned from its experience in the enterprise disk space, where it has an "overpowering" share of the market, according to Disk/Trends Thompson. "Lots of mistakes are made in the enterprise where [vendors] come in, cheapen themselves, lose quality and then lose the business," Watkins said. "When you go into the notebook, you can do the same thing. Well demonstrate quality, well demonstrate reliability, and then well see" about market share, he said.