Toshiba develops nickel-sized HD

By Julio Franco ยท 41 replies
Dec 16, 2003
  1. Toshiba Corp. has developed a hard disk drive about the size of a nickel that can be used to store music and video in mobile phones and other portable gadgets.

    The 0.85 inch diameter disk is believed to be the world's smallest hard disk drive that can store about 2 or 3 gigabytes worth of information, company spokeswoman Midori Suzuki said Monday.

    Read more: MSNBC.
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Thats incredible that companies have been able to create that amount of storage on that small of a disk. Think back 10 years ago, people weren't even running windows, only a few were running Mac System 6. And then 40 megs seemed amazing.

    I can see this being very influential on the all in one market (cell phone - pda - gps).
  3. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Posts: 640

    I thought we were trying to move past mechanical drives?
  4. Inimbrium

    Inimbrium TS Rookie Posts: 17

    Well, we are, but they can't even make large, practical, and cheap non mechanical drives (ie. memory, crystals, whatever), so until they can, mechanical HDDs remain the cheapest solution (by far) to a large storage. :)

    It will be funny to go though the mobile's menus and hear the HDD clicking away. hehe. :cool:

    One problem that they'll probably have to solve (if they haevn't done so already) is to make these HDDs very shock resistant. I must have dropped my phones 100 times. I don't want any bad sectors really. Heh, running defrag on yer phone. Should be fun. :D
  5. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    I can't even imagine what you will have to pay for this. You know how technology is, the smaller the more expensive.
    But I must say this is pretty incredible that they are able to do this. And to have the confidence to start mass manufacturing and selling it for early 2005. That is simply amazing. I just hope their is a demand for them, or it looks like Toshiba has developed a nickel sized paper-weight :)
  6. Strakian

    Strakian TS Rookie Posts: 136

    You must remember that in time that price drops significantly to reflect cost and demand. If this new slice of bread hit the market x-mas day this year, by about 2005 it'd be old news, ,and you could pick it up for 80 bucks instead of 350. Also by then it will have been developed BETTER and manufactured cheaper. (This premise based on current computer gadget exponential decay in price.)

    I don't have a lot of cash to throw around, so I'm usually the guy who buys the second best, cuz I'm patient enough to miss out for a couple months while the pricec drops. I'm looking forward to my Radeon 9600 Pro this x-mas, and knowing it didn't cost as much as a used car makes me happy. Can't wait for my 9800XT next year, etc. :grinthumb
  7. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    Yes this could be just what is needed in order to bring everything together as we were discussing in this thread

    This should really make handheld's much more desirable. Right now, having to use flash memory for storage is kind of a hassle and a bit expensive, especially if you use a lot of it. I can see things really taking off within the next year as result of this(or at least this making a huge contribution to it)
  8. BrownPaper

    BrownPaper TS Rookie Posts: 407

    it'd be cool to watch videos and listen to music on a portable device with a large capacity hard drive. i imagine i would have to bring some headphones along as i do not think a cell phone's speaker would be adaquate for listening pleasure. that is unless someone comes up with great sounding microspeakers.
  9. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    But the only problem with this could lie in the fact that people move their PDA's and other devices around so much wouldn't that have a greater risk of crashing a head on a HDD? I mean with flash there is no moving parts, and you can do what you want, but with a HDD it causes some more problems all together.
  10. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    Thats true, but I'd hope that along with making these things smaller, they'd also make them more shock proof. I remember several years ago, a portable CD player would skip if you walked across the room with it. I have one now that is nearly impossible to make skip.

    It may take some time, but I think this is a huge jump toward that end.
  11. agrav8r

    agrav8r TS Rookie Posts: 103

    Hard drives use aerodynamics to work, and so the "shock proofing" is not the same as in CD players. (BTW if you don't believe me, just cover the little hole on your hard drive) Dropping the device causes the reader to hit the platter. The only way i can see this being prevented is if the head and platter were permentaly fixed objects and the "casing " moved- oppisite of what we have now. i believe this would slow down sekk/finds tremendously and you would have to use a different sectors system ( grid vs radial).
    I personally don't use my phone as an MP# player, nor to save addresses. I find it kind of appaling that my foot massager,back scratcher, cell phone, nose hair clipper, MP3 player, toliet paper dispenser can be used as a PDA. Sometimes i get comfused as to which mode I am in, but have decided not to be embarressed anymore. Hey, doing it wrong is fun a partys right?:cool:
  12. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    I am well aware of how HDDs work, I also said it would take time. I also don't believe that Toshiba would have aimed these drives at the handheld market if they hadn't already made at least some efforts to "shock-proof" these drives.

    Personally, I like the idea of having several handheld devices combined to one, especially since I have to carry all these things from jobsite to jobsite, it would lighten my load somewhat to be able to combine some of those devices into one.
  13. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Corporations should spend less on mechanical drives and spend more on lowering the price of superior electronic storage.
  14. agrav8r

    agrav8r TS Rookie Posts: 103

    Funny they have on I believe it is called a day planner. Completely upgradeable and costs about 45 dollars. Additional memory about 4 to 10 dollars for a years worth of storage. Can't remember the last time I needed a MP# player at work, but hey, if your are not really there to work:knock:
    And the worst things about the pda/phone is that the designs are for one style or the other. Either it is comfortable to hold to your ear, but has a backwards keypad, or it is easy to use and type, but severe head trauma occurs the moment you answer it.
    If, big if, they get voice operation to work on a device this small, then i will agree, but until then you can keep my coffee maker, disco ball , pdapuke:
  15. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    FYI agrav8r, I currently use a Laptop to program PLC controllers, which would be much easier if I had the ability to run the needed software on a smaller device and still have a tolerable UI. I also constantly need to crossreference part #s and access technical data for several types of equipment, some of this can be done with a PDA, other files are too large and must be kept on my laptop, I also need my phone with me at all times while on a jobsite, and I also use my PDA as a dayplanner, but the list goes on, none of which involve toilet paper, media players, or coffee makers.

    Rick, I agree with you, it would be nice to have solid state drives that would be about the same size as these and store as much data as the drives we currently use in our desktops.
  16. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    Whoa!!! 2-gigabyle!!! It's bigger than I thought ;)

    I am really surprised. Especially because the size of relatively high capacity mechanical drives went straight from the size of laptop HDD (the smallest) to the size of a nickel. Or was there something in between? I never heard about anything smaller than laptop drives until this, besides flash memory.
  17. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Posts: 640

    Vehementi, there are the 2.2GB CompactFlash IBM Microdrives(Which is obviously the size of a compact flash card) It's a very tiny HDD, I've heard they are easy to mess up though. If you drop it from even a few feet up, it's toast.....
  18. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    Ah I thought those all used flash memory (SRAM). But, good to know.

    Still, we went all the way from the size of laptop drives to the sizes of a nickel and a CompactFlash card.
  19. agrav8r

    agrav8r TS Rookie Posts: 103

    Touchy touchy well to make amends how about this? You at least don't have to carry a wallet, while you wash dishes and use the PDA functions of your portable toliet
    The World's No.1 Science & Technology News Service

    Cellphone allows users to swipe and go

    15:23 16 December 03 news service

    A trial starting on Wednesday will allow thousands of Japanese mobile phone owners to use their phones as a swipe card to pay for purchases, as travel passes, and as concert and movie tickets.

    The trial is the first to embed smart cards within the phones, and has been set up by phone company NTT DoCoMo and electronics giant Sony.

    Like other "contactless" smartcards, the user simply has to place their phone near a reader to exchange information. This does away with the need to have printed tickets or passes. So, for example, a cinema ticket could be bought using the phone's online features, with a swipe of the phone giving entry to the screening.

    For length i only posted part of the story. It goes on about the multiple functions, that you are so desiring for Xmas. hope you haven't been naughty.
  20. agrav8r

    agrav8r TS Rookie Posts: 103

    i just love to inform you of all the new things out there. I found out how they are going to make it shock proof. and Inventions
    Laptops incorporate drop-protection 'airbags'
    By Will Knight
    The world's first laptops incorporating automatic protection against the damage caused by a drop have been launched by US computer maker IBM.

    The new ThinkPad systems use an onboard accelerometer to detect a sudden fall. If an impact seems imminent, then within a tenth of a second the computer's hard drive stops writing data and the read/write head is retracted to a safe position.

    This is to protect the drive from damage that can result from jarring. An impact can cause the drive's heads to skid across the magnetic disks used to store information inside a hard drive, creating unusable sectors and erasing data.

    The components most prone to damage are a laptop's hard drive, its display and its keyboard. But losing information stored on the machine's hard drive is the biggest worry for users, IBM believes.

    The company compares its Active Protection System to the technology used in automobiles to deploy airbags during an impact. Worldwide product manager for IBM, Bill Iori, told NewsFactor: "The airbag will save the most important part, the driver and passengers. In this case, [the stored data] comes out alive, even if the LCD doesn't."

    Active Protection System technology comes with the Thinkpad R50 and T41 laptops. IBM plans to patent the idea.

    Either that or you can just click the pillow function and leave it on on your iron, tennis racket , pda, lava lamp, portalbe bed.

  21. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    That almost seems kind of silly if you ask me. It will ruin your whole computer, except for the HDD, due to the impact. But I guess you can keep you data. And what happens when one of these doesn't go off, and the user loses all their data which was their corporate partners and millions of dollars in work. Is IBM going to pay for this, because they said their drives had an airbag? Seems a little far fetched and might cause more problems than IBM is considering.
  22. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    Well, agrav8r, I'm not ditching my wallet just yet, although it looks like you did a pretty good job of posting things that back my position on this.

    Poert, I think that the "airbag" thing might be a good idea, maybe not to begin with, it may take a bit of time(from the looks of it, the article seems to indicate its already in use). I also think it would only guard against falls severe enough to damage the drive, but not severe enough to kill everything else, otherwise, that would be kind of pointless(except for data protection as you mentioned)

    BTW, agrav8r, please don't double post, use the EDIT feature instead
  23. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    I think the "airbag" technology is a good step for mechanical drives... But the fight to hang on to mechanical storage is still futile....

    Solid state drives will take over!

    Data is important to consumers and critical to businesses. The unreliability of mechanical storage is obviously going to be its downfall in the coming years as it is replaced with electronic storage.
  24. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    It's only a matter of time before all the technology we use is outdated and newer and much better technology is implemented. I'm still not sure I would trust this technology. It will take a while to get me hooked.
  25. agrav8r

    agrav8r TS Rookie Posts: 103

    Although it may sound otherwise, i would eventually like to see everything in one items. My concern is that currnet renditions are ill designed hybrids, and instead of designing with the best of both ( or multiple ) worlds, they jam two devices together, and neither works as well as an individual of each. One may argue that this is due to the infancy of the technology, but it seems that the rush to get the "new" and the "improved" to cash in on those that must have the top of the line seems the more likely case.
    BTW with the length of the two posts, I felt it would be easier to read, plus I wouldn't feel comfortable with my nick and all if i had done that :mad:
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