Customer pressure and the success of notebooks has lured Western Digital to enter the lucrative market for 2.5in hard disk notebook drives.
Coming late to the party, Western Digital has taken the wraps off its Scorpio 2.5in hard drive for notebooks and other devices, claiming the move opens up a potential $4.6bn market.
Classed as low-power and high-performance, the Scorpio spins at 5,400rpm and has a seek time of 12 milliseconds. The power consumption, according to Western Digital, is nearer to that of slower 4,200rpm drives and should lead to longer notebook battery life.
The Scorpio drives come in 40GB, 60GB and 80GB flavours and feature a standard 2MB cache, although an optional 8MB is available. All drives are covered by a three-year warranty.
"Western Digital's entry into the mobile hard drive market is a significant strategic move to increase the company's opportunities for growth," said Arif Shakeel, chief operating officer at the company.
"Our operating model and manufacturing efficiencies enable us to produce high- quality, cost-effective products in high volumes. Existing customers have been asking when Western Digital would enter the mobile market, and with the launch of the Scorpio product line we have delivered what they asked for."
Western Digital rivals Seagate and Maxtor already lead the way in this segment of the market. The 2.5in area is one of the fastest growth areas in the hard disk drive market, according to market watcher TrendFocus.
Unit shipments of 2.5in drives stood at 47 million in 2003, but is expected to top 60 million this year and grow by an compound annual growth rate of 22 per cent between 2003 and 2007.
Despite the manufacturer's late entry, John Donavan, vice-president of TrendFocus, thinks the company can still steal a share.
"Western Digital's 2.5in entry strategy centres on the highest-volume core of the market," Donavan said.
"More than 80 per cent of 2.5in drives sold now and in the near future range in capacity from 40GB to 80GB. Western Digital has consistently proven its ability to deliver the products and support that customers want in high-volume markets, making them a very capable contender for the growing 2.5in demand."
In related news, Samsung has followed Seagate's lead and announced that it will offer five-year warranties on all of its hard drives for PCs and notebooks. Maxtor and Western Digital are now under pressure to follow suit.
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