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Western Digital announced it would enter the market of miniature hard disk drives aimed at handheld consumer electronics, such as players, phones or cameras. The company’s first product for the market will be 6GB HDD in 1” form-factor that will ship in Q2 2005 and will become one of the world’s largest HDD of its size.

“We are witnessing a global cultural revolution in portable digital entertainment. Hard-drive enabled MP3 players are already becoming ubiquitous, and by 2008, at least 8% of mobile phones could contain a hard drive. These are enormous new markets. It now seems likely that 1” hard drive shipments exceeded 8 million units in 2004, up from only 903 000 units in 2003. The compound annual growth rate for 1” hard drives should exceed 85% through 2008,” said John Monroe, a research vice president at Gartner.

An increasing number of current applications, such as MP3 players, PDAs, digital still cameras and digital video cameras, rely on 1” hard drives. Newly available and future products enabled by innovations in rotating magnetic storage, such as 1” drives, have driven demand in the quickly developing market segment that includes combination digital video/still cameras and cell phones.

WD’s miniature drive entry is expected to ship in the second calendar quarter of 2005. The 1” hard drive will spin at 3600rpm and will be available in capacities up to 6GB. This new hard drive will be offered with the standard CF II interface and form factor, which enables it to fit into the millions of currently available devices accepting CF II cards, as well as easily integrate into future products. It will feature WD’s anti-skip technology that supports uninterrupted audio and video playback. The drive also will incorporate WD’s patent-pending advanced power management techniques to enable the longest possible battery life.

“WD’s entry into the sub-2.5” segment is in response to customer demand and broadens our market position, enabling WD to participate in an incremental revenue opportunity and profit pool,” said Tom McDorman, vice president and general manager of WD’s entertainment group.

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