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Eight companies form removable hard drive consortium

Eight major electronics companies have formed a consortium aimed at standardising and popularising a new removable hard disc system based around 2.5in drives for use in computer and consumer electronics.

Members of the Information Versatile Disk for Removable (iVDR) usage consortium include some of the biggest names in Japanese electronics: Canon, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Phoenix Technologies, Pioneer, Sanyo, Sharp and JVC. Two manufacturing companies, FCI Japan and Mitsumi Electric, are supporting the consortium but are not members.

"The concept is that technology for hard discs is rising fast and people are getting stuck with the capacity they have. The new system will allow users to add extra capacity as they need it," said a source familiar with the consortium's plans.

As broadband Internet connectivity spreads and digital video and audio become more popular, engineers are pushing the capacity of hard discs higher. In January, Toshiba demonstrated a working prototype of a 2.5in hard disc drive that packs 35.1Gbits of data into one square inch of disc space.

A little further away from commercialisation, Fujitsu last year provided a glimpse into the future when it announced its researchers had achieved a data density of 100Gbits per square inch in the laboratory.

The companies plan to officially unveil the consortium and their work to date on 6 March.

They are not the only ones looking into such a system. At the same time as demonstrating its higher capacity hard drive last month, Toshiba researchers also demonstrated a prototype removable hard drive and companion consumer video recorder.

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