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Fujitsu plans 200GB laptop drive for Q3

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Fujitsu Ltd. expects to begin shipping a 200G-byte hard-disk drive suitable for use in laptop computers in the third quarter of this year, it said Monday.

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Based on that schedule the drive could be available in computers for end-users within the year. That's earlier than Fujitsu predicted last year when it said such drives wouldn't be available until 2007.

The current highest capacity 2.5-inch drive from Fujitsu can accommodate up to 160G-bytes of data so the new drive will represent an increase in storage capacity of 25 percent. Like the 160G-byte drive the new model will have a Serial ATA interface and is primarily aimed at entertainment and multimedia laptops, which often need a large storage area for video files.

Drives similar to that announced Monday, with 2.5-inch diameter recording platters, are typically used in laptop computers and some consumer electronics products. Fujitsu is an aggressive competitor in the market. It has succeeded in expanding its market share for 14 consecutive quarters, according to figures from the company. Part of its success has come from the 2.5-inch Serial ATA products.

The market for laptop PCs and non-IT products, such as music players and digital video recorders, is expected to see strong growth over the next few years and will become a focus of Fujitsu's efforts in the hard-disk drive space, the company said in January this year.

The 2.5-inch laptop PC hard-disk drive market was 81 million units in 2005 and is expected to grow past 150 million units in 2008 to 210 million drives in 2010, the company estimates. In the same period the desktop PC drive market, which has been a mainstay of Fujitsu's drive business, is expected to contract from 240 million units in 2005 to 190 million units in 2010.

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