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The Future of HDDs

X-bit labs: Do you expect 2.5" HDDs to pose threat to 3.5" drives, as some analysts recently said?

Joel Hagberg: The demise of the 3.5-inch form factor is greatly exaggerated. We see strong demand for capacity-optimized HDDs for enterprise applications as well as client HDDs in the desktop and consumer electronics spaces. The 3.5-inch form factor fits specific requirements and needs of these applications. Toshiba does not expect 2.5-inch drives erode the 3.5-inch market as there is need for both depending on the use case.

X-bit labs: Seagate predicts slower growth of HDD capacities because of shortages of hard drive components. Do you share this belief?

Joel Hagberg: The virtual vertical integration model I spoke of earlier encompasses strategic, long-standing relationships that we have built with critical component suppliers. Together, we develop and test new recording and storage technologies, share IP and collaborate on the build-out of these technologies to support volume production with consistent quality and reliability. Certainly the technology has gotten more difficult, causing the annual rate of storage density per disk to slow. However, Toshiba will continue to innovate and bring to market new products that encompass state-of-the-art technologies that we and our suppliers have developed. At this time we do not anticipate any near term component shortages in 2012.

X-bit labs: Will this process cause a per-HDD/per-GB price increase? Or rather force hard drive makers to find new ways to make HDDs, perhaps, by further unifying different drives?

Joel Hagberg: HDD pricing, like most pricing, is mostly the result of supply/demand dynamics. In addition, serving cost-conscious applications in both the consumer and commercial HDD industries has always been driven to maximize efficiency through technology and operations. Any and all avenues of cost improvement that produce high quality reliable products are continuously sought after and explored.

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