Fujitsu has begun initial production of a hard-disk drive for notebook computers that offers 120GB of storage capacity.

The new drive offers 20 percent more storage capacity and several other improvements over Fujitsu's nearest 2.5in riva.

Samples of the drives are already with notebook vendors for testing and Fujitsu plans to begin shipping commercial versions of the drive during the second quarter.

The jump in storage capacity was achieved by cramming data more closely together on the disk's surface. The result is an areal density of 104Gbpin2 (gigabits per square inch) in the new drive.

The additional improvements include a doubling of the number of times the drive head can be loaded and unloaded from the disk to 600,000, a cut in power consumption and an increase in the drive's ability to handle mechanical shocks.

While Fujitsu's announcement gives the company initial bragging rights for a 120GB notebook drive, the highly competitive nature of the storage market means it's not likely to be long before the company's rivals begin announcing similar plans.

Despite the extra pressure from rivals, the market remains good for Fujitsu, said a spokesperson. In the last one and a half years Fujitsu has increased its production of drives from 500,000 to 1.5m per month in response to this demand and the company has seen its market share expand as a result, he said.