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Cornice to launch 8GB, 10GB small hard drives

Smaller, higher-capacity drives for mobiles

Miniature hard disk drive maker Cornice will launch higher-capacity drives at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the company has said.

The company's fourth-generation drive will be available in 8GB and 10GB versions later in the first quarter, said Kevin Magenis, a cofounder of the company. The new drive, which like previous models has a 1in diameter platter on which data is stored, can not only hold more data but is around 40 percent physically smaller than Cornice's 4GB drive, he said.

"When we started almost 20 months ago designing the drive we asked ourselves: what are the most important attributes for a next-generation product?" said Magenis. "Thinness was very popular, as was the X-Y size [the drive's length and width], so we shrunk it down."

The drive measures 30x40x3.5mm.

Cornice is targeting the mobile phone market, which it anticipates will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 325 percent between 2004 and 2009. It expects about 72 million mobile phones with embedded drives will be shipped in 2009 out of a global total of around one billion handsets.

If that happens the mobile phone market will dwarf the personal storage and portable audio player markets, which Cornice expects will stand at 10 million and 43 million shipments respectively in 2009.

Cornice has already seen its hard disk drives embedded in a mobile phone by Samsung and the company is already seeing demand for the new drive for use in other handsets.

There are six phones based on the new drive that will be in volume production in Q1 or Q2, said Magenis.

International CES runs in Las Vegas from 5-8 January.

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