Seagate matches Hitachi with 1-inch 6GB hard drive

Seagate matches rival Hitachi with a 1-inch hard disk drive that offers a 6GB capacity.

Seagate Technology on Thursday began shipping a 1-inch hard disk drive with a 6G-byte capacity, the same day that rival drive maker Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST) announced a similar product.

Seagate's drive is shipping to selected device makers, said Joyce See, a spokeswoman for Seagate in Singapore. In addition to the 6G-byte model, Seagate offers 1-inch drives with capacities of 5G bytes and 2.5G bytes.

See declined to reveal pricing for the 6G-byte ST-1 hard disk drive, saying the product is being sold only to device makers and will not be made directly available to consumers. However, HGST yesterday said its 6G-byte 1-inch Microdrive hard disk will cost US$299, a 40-percent reduction compared to the US$499 price tag the company has previously put on all of its 1-inch hard drive products when first released.

These small hard disk drives are principally designed for use in portable consumer electronics devices, such as MP3 players. The 6G-byte ST-1 can hold 150 hours of music, or roughly 3,000 songs, encoded at a bit rate of 128K bps (bits per second), Seagate said in a statement.

Seagate's customers for 1-inch hard drives include Creative Technology, Olympus, Sanyo Electric, Virgin Electronics and others, according to the company.

The introduction of 6G-byte hard drives came on the same day that Apple Computer Inc. introduced a 6G-byte version of its iPod Mini MP3 player, which retails for US$249.

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