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Despite of continuous tangible declines of flash memory prices, miniature hard disk drives (HDDs) seem to be getting popular among manufacturers. Samsung Electronics, the world’s top maker of DRAM and a moderate player in the HDD market, announced plans to bring a tiny hard drive into the market this year.

Samsung’s 0.85” HDD with 4GB capacity will be available in the third quarter of the year and will offer some competition to Toshiba’s 0.85” hard disk drives that will be available in 2GB and 4GB capacities. No technical details about Samsung’s 0.85” HDDs are available. The prospective output of such products from Samsung Electronics is also uncertain.

Usually 0.85” HDDs are utilized in music players and similar portable consumer electronics; Samsung recently managed to equip one of its mobile phones with a petite hard drive.

Samsung's new drive will not just be competing with other miniature drives but also with flash memory, ARNnet web-site notes. Samsung expects the price of flash memory to drop by roughly half in each of the next two to three years and indicated similar price falls for miniature hard-disk drives would be difficult to achieve.

Marker research firm Gartner predicts that by 2008, at least 8% of mobile phones could contain a hard drive. Recently Gartner said 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, the research firm believes.

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