4GB Microdrive coming this fall

One of the things I really loved about my last digital camera was its Compact Flash Type II slot, because it meant that I could use a IBM Microdrives. A 330MB Microdrive gave me seemingly-unlimited storage for the highest-resolution photos I could capture with that 3.3 megapixel camera. Even 1GB Microdrives are cheap compared to an equivalent amount of, say, Memory Sticks (the dependence on which is the only bad thing about my Sony 5.1 megapixel camera).

Last year, Hitachi and IBM announced that Hitachi would be buying IBM’s hard drive business for just over $2 billion and merging it with their own. Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (of which IBM retains a 30% share) was officially born on January 1, and today they made their first announcement — a 4GB Microdrive will be coming this fall.

The 4GB Microdrive will use “pixie dust” — a term used by IBM scientists to describe the almost-magical properties of a three-atom-think layer of ruthenium when sandwiched between two layers of more traditional magnetic media — to achieve its amazing density. This “pixie dust” has already been used successfully in IBM’s TravelStar drives. | Reuters story | IBM “pixie dust” press release | Hitachi press release | Hitachi Global Storage Technologies