MANHASSET, N.Y. Seeking to expand its reach in the automotive and consumer markets, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies introduced two drives for automotive applications and a thin-profile 2.5-inch drive for digital video recorders.
In a recent iSuppli market study, Hitachi GST (San Jose, Calif.) ranked third in hard-disk drive shipments behind Seagate and Western Digital, though saw its market share slip. The company expects the new drives to help expand its reach in consumer applications, which some analysts estimate account for one-third of all hard-disk drive unit sales.
The 2.5-inch drive, designated the CinemaStar C5K160, has a capacity of 160 Gbytes. It is the first drive for digital video recorders to use the 2.5-inch form factor, according to Bill Healy, senior vice president of corporate strategy and marketing for the Hitachi unit, in an interview.
"The drives are aimed at a market requiring a slim, sleek industrial design," Healy said. He added that the drive's capacity is equivalent to many 3.5-in. drives, while its design allows the use of only a 5-V supply, compared to 5 and 12 V for 3.5-inch drives.
The automotive drives, designated the Endurastar J4K50 and N4K50, have the highest storage capacity in automotive-grade drives at 50 Gbytes, according to Healy.
The J4K50 has an operating temperature range of -30 to +85 C, while the N4K50 operates at -16 to +70 C. By comparison, Hitachi's previous-generation Endurastar drives had a -20 to +85 C range, the company said.
In addition, the drives have a wide altitude range, with the J4K50 able to operate over from -300 to +5,000 meters, which the company said would enable it to operate near the Dead Sea and in the Andes Mountains. The N4K50 has an upper altitude range of 3,000 meters.
Healy said the new automotive drives were part of Hitachi's strategy to become the leading supplier of automotive hard drives. Presently, the company trails Toshiba, he noted.
"What is appealing is the opportunity to adopt hard drives for new applications, to improve the automotive experience," Healy said. "We can begin to provide more meaningful datawe can show environment or road in which you're traveling, show movies, and implement advanced telematics."
Both the DVR and automotive hard drives will be in production in 2007, Healy said.
On the business front, Healy did not elaborate on Hitachi GST's near-term outlook, but he said demand undergoing its customary year-end pickup as the holiday season looms. He added that price pressure is continuing but expects some price stabilization as the year comes to a close.