Hitachi is introducing a new 200GB laptop hard drive, though the size and its 7200RPM spindle speed aren't what's going to set it apart. After all, though still relatively new, 200GB 2.5" drives are available from many vendors. This new Travelstar 7K200, however, has built-in optical data encryption, intended to make the drive safe to dispose of when the time comes. Using a hardware key that encrypts and decrypts data on the fly, the idea is to allow someone to sell off or dispose of the drive and merely worry about deleting the encryption key - making all the data stored on it unreadable and worthless.

The drives will head for retail this summer at about $250, and some notebook vendors are already looking to include them in upcoming models. It won't sell like hotcakes at that price, but for the security-conscious it may be just what they are looking for.