Hitachi Global Storage Technologies has announced that it has started shipping its first 6 GB and 8 GB microdrives.
This series of miniature hard drives, officially called the Hitachi Microdrive 3K8, will be 20 percent smaller and consume 40 percent less power than their predecessors.
They are expected to begin appearing soon in the next generation of handhelds and smartphones.
In fact, Hitachi itself revealed that the 6 GB version will be used in an upcoming Mobile Manager from Palm, Inc.
The 3K8 series is now shipping in limited quantities. The beginning of volume shipments is planned for next month.
These microdrives offer drop-sensor technology which protects against data loss in the event of a drop.
Hitachi's ESP or Extra Sensory Protection technology works by immediately parking the read-write head safely away from the surface of the disk when it detects a fall, preventing head/disk contact which may cause data loss.
ESP is activated during a drop of as little as four inches (10 cm).
Hitachi believes ESP technology should be as essential to hard-drive-based devices as airbags are to cars.
The 3K8 is also the first hard drive to offer the CE-ATA interface, which is designed to support the specific relationship between small-form-factor hard drives and the handheld consumer electronic devices in which they are embedded.
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