April 13, 2005 – Toshiba Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. will soon start to mass-produce 0.85-inch hard-disk drives, the world’s smallest, to replace flash memories as the main storage medium for cellular phones, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported in its Tuesday evening edition.
The HDDs will significantly boost the memory capacity of cellular phones and thereby upgrade their functions, including the storage of music and video.
Toshiba will begin to roll out 4-gigabyte HDDs during the April-June quarter. The company has already started production of 2GB HDDs at its Tokyo factory in January at a rate of about 3000 units/month.
Samsung Electronics is expected to launch production within this year. The company’s new HDDs — into which a data recording disk and peripheral device are bundled — are about 2.5cm in diameter, and offer 4GB of memory, almost the same as the original version of the iPod mini developed by California-based Apple Computer Inc.
Currently, most cellular phones incorporate flash memories as their data storing medium, with the highest-end model offered by NTT DoCoMo Inc. sporting a memory capacity of only 30 megabytes.
Samsung Electronics plans to equip its highest-grade third-generation cellular phones with the HDDs and initially make it possible for the handset to store about 1200 songs downloaded from a cell phone ringer melody site.