Hitachi Global Storage Technologies on Monday said it had begun shipping samples of its 4-Gbyte Microdrive, which will ship in November.
The 1-inch MicroDrive, the smallest rotating magnetic disk drive, is currently only available in a 1-Gbyte capacity, although Hitachi Global Storage has previously announced plans to ship a 2-Gbyte drive later this year.
However, the 4-Gbyte Microdrive, known as the 3K4, may face a serious obstacle -- the 2-Gbyte barrier of the FAT16 system. Digital cameras and other devices must be programmed to allow reading and writing of data to FAT32 disks. Like Hitachis previous Microdrives, the latest device fits within a CompactFlash Type II form factor.
However, the data transfer rate of the new Microdrive is 70 percent faster than previous versions, Hitachi said.
Consumer product manufacturers that are evaluating the new Microdrive for compatibility with current and future products include Blaupunkt, Kodak, Minolta Co., Ltd., Nikon, Olympus, Pentax Corporation, Sigma and Sony Corporation, according to Hitachi. Many of these companies already support Hitachis current-generation Microdrive in their consumer electronic devices.
Hitachi said it will continue to offer its current 1GB Microdrive throughout the world. The company said it expects to ship the new 4-Gbyte Microdrive to retail shelves in "major markets" this November for an estimated retail price of $499.
IBM originally developed the Microdrive, but the technology was transferred to Hitachi earlier this year in a combination of the two storage businesses.