Steve's Digicams - Breaking News - Hitachi 02/23/2005 Press Release


Press Releases - February 23, 2005

Hitachi Ramps 6-Gigabyte Microdrive to High Volume; Company Sweetens Arrival of Higher-Capacity One-Inch Hard Drive with Significant Price Reduction

Hitachi 6 gigabyte one-inch Microdrive digital media holds 6,000 photos or
250 rolls of 24-exposure film, with new reduced retail price of USD.

SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 23, 2005--Users of miniature MP3 players and other storage-demanding handheld consumer electronics can rejoice today as Hitachi Global Storage Technologies begins shipping its 6 gigabyte(a) (GB) one-inch hard drive in high volume. As the leader in one-inch hard drives, Hitachi is raising the stakes by making available the new Microdrive 3K6 with a suggested retail price reduction of up to 60 percent.

With 6 GB, the new Microdrive lets consumers carry even more of what they love -- 1500-3000 songs, 6,000 pictures (1 MB each) or 8 hours of MPEG-4 video(b). Hitachi is making all this possible, now, at a significant price reduction, retailing the 6 GB Microdrive for USD or pennies per megabyte. Hitachi's new suggested retail pricing represents the best value of capacity, reliability and performance at a price point that's affordable to virtually all owners of consumer devices. The Microdrive 3K6 is available in removable Compact Flash Type II and embedded versions.

In its fourth generation, the newest Hitachi Microdrive product combines a mature architecture and unmatched reliability with industry-leading storage capacity. The Microdrive's high standard of quality and breakthrough capacity are what users of consumer electronics products have come to expect. Hitachi is also seeing growing interest from makers of personal digital assistants and mobile phones in using the Microdrive as the preferred technology for miniature, high-capacity storage.

"The entertainment and experiences that consumers carry with them in portable digital devices are priceless; our intent with the higher capacity and lower pricing of the new Microdrive is to let a greater number of users enjoy the benefit of keeping their precious data close at hand," said Bill Healy, senior vice president, product strategy and marketing, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. "The desire for smaller devices with increasingly larger capacities won't be easily met in the short term, but we believe the 6 GB Microdrive will satisfy consumers' immediate needs while we work on developing ever higher capacities in future Microdrive products."

Hitachi recently announced plans for a 20-percent smaller one-inch hard drive with 8-10 GB of capacity. The new drive -- nicknamed "Mikey," the baby Microdrive -- is expected later this year.

Priced to Sell

For the first time since its 1999 introduction, the new-generation Microdrive product is being offered at a suggested retail price of , representing a 40-percent reduction of Hitachi's standard debut price of for the one-inch product. The 4 GB version of the Microdrive 3K6 will be offered at , representing a 60-percent decrease.

The change in Hitachi's pricing structure is made possible through a more efficient and developed, high-volume manufacturing process. It was also implemented to enable a greater set of users to enjoy the Microdrive benefits of high capacity, portability and flexibility for use in a host of devices.

"The Microdrive has always been a hot commodity at a great price due to its reliability and unique position in the market," said Brian Campbell, president, Pexagon Technology. "But now, with lower price points and more capacity, the Microdrive is an even better value for users of handheld devices and digital cameras."

Pexagon Technology is the North American distributor for Hitachi's retail Microdrive products. Using a 4 GB Microdrive, Pexagon recently developed a USB-based external storage device under its own label.

A Time Tested Design

Hitachi's latest Microdrive gives consumers more capacity for less. The 3K6 is intended to satisfy the current appetite for more storage on handheld consumer-electronic applications, especially digital music players, personal digital assistants and digital still/video cameras. Hitachi has increased storage capacity on the new Microdrive 3K6 by 50 percent over the previous generation.

The 3K6 continues the Microdrive family's leadership in technology, offering a 30 percent performance improvement over its predecessor. The drive is available in 4 and 6-GB capacities and comes to the market in very high demand. Hitachi has significantly increased production to several million units per quarter to meet the growing demand for Microdrive products.

Hitachi has already shipped several hundred thousand Microdrive 3K6 products to customers and retail outlets worldwide. Broad-scale retail availability is expected in late February, depending on the region.

(a) 1 gigabyte = 1 billion bytes
(b) Actual storage may vary depending on compression rate applied

Technical Specifications - Microdrive 3K6

    6/4 GB
    5 mm in height
    16 grams
    3,600 rpm
    78 billion bits per square inch maximum areal density
    1 glass disk platter
    2 GMR recording heads
    2000 G/1ms non-operating shock,
    200 G/2ms operating shock
    8.3 ms average latency
    12 ms average seek time
    230/280 mA -- current (write) for +3.3VDC/+5VDC (+/- 5%)
    13/15 mA -- current (standby) for +3.3VDC/+5VDC (+/- 5%)
    1.8 Bels typical idle acoustics
    2.1 Bels typical operating acoustics

About Hitachi Global Storage Technologies

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies was founded in 2003 as a result of the strategic combination of Hitachi's and IBM's storage technology businesses. By the end of 2003, Hitachi GST became the industry's second largest hard disk drive manufacturer in revenue, and maintained that position into 2004.

The company's goal is to enable users to fully engage in the digital lifestyle by providing access to large amounts of storage capacity in formats suitable for the office, on the road and in the home. The company offers customers worldwide a comprehensive range of storage products for desktop computers, high-performance servers and mobile devices. For more information on Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, please visit the company's Web site at

About Hitachi, Ltd.

Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE:HIT), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leading global electronics company, with approximately 326,000 employees worldwide. Fiscal 2003 (ended March 31, 2004) consolidated sales totaled 8,632.4 billion yen (.4 billion). The company offers a wide range of systems, products and services in market sectors, including information systems, electronic devices, power and industrial systems, consumer products, materials and financial services. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company's Web site at

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