IBM ships the world's smallest hard drive

IBM 340 MB microdrive targets digital cameras, hand-held PCs and personal audio players

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San Jose, CA . . - 17 Jun 1999: . . .IBM announced today it has started shipping the IBM 340 megabyte (MB) microdrive, the world's smallest* hard disk drive, to its initial key customers.

Launching the microdrive is a strategic next step in the growth of IBM's original equipment manufacturer (OEM) technology business. In the last few months alone, the company has announced $28 billion worth of OEM technology deals. These agreements include the sales of storage components to other companies.

Now, IBM announces its next major OEM technology move -- its entrance into the small form factor storage arena, with a number of companies receiving shipments of the microdrive. These companies include: Casio; Compaq Computer Corporation; Clarion Sales Corporation; RioPort Division of Diamond Multimedia Systems; Eastman Kodak Company; Hitachi; IBM Personal Systems Group; Minolta; Nikon; Samsung; SANYO Electric; and Trimble. The companies are expected to integrate the microdrive into their digital devices or offer it as a separate storage option.

The manufacturer's suggested retail price of the microdrive kit, including a 340 MB microdrive, PC Card adapter and field case, is $499 (U.S.). IBM microdrives will be available in Japan and the U.S. in retail stores by early summer.

The microdrive has a disk platter the size of a large coin and weighs less than a AA battery. The new device can hold: 1,000 digital photographs compressed; six hours of near CD-quality audio; 300 hefty novels; or the equivalent of more than 200 standard-size floppy disks. IBM microdrive uses high-performance, time-proven hard disk drive technology to store information. The drive has a much lower cost-per-megabyte and holds more content than alternate small-format storage technologies.

With its small size and industry-standard removable format, IBM's new microdrive is considered an ideal storage solution for pervasive or "go-anywhere" computing applications.

The microdrive has been designed for use in digital cameras, hand-held, companion and notebook PCs.

"The IBM microdrive is a great storage option for users who want to expand the rich capabilities of their Windows CE-based devices," said Roger Gulrajani, group product manager, Windows CE, Microsoft Corp. "Customers can now store even more rich content such as digital images, audio, documents, and additional third-party applications which enhance the power and versatility of these companion devices."

Since the introduction of microdrive technology last year, new applications have emerged including Global Positioning Systems (GPS), wearable PCs and personal audio players.

"Supporting the microdrive in upcoming generations of our Rio digital audio devices will provide our customers with high-capacity MP3 storage in a portable environment," said David Watkins, president of the RioPort Division at Diamond Multimedia. "The IBM microdrive will allow future Rio customers to store several hours of CD-quality music or hundreds of hours of spoken audio."

The microdrive allows digital photographers to take more photos before having to pause to download the stored images. Photographers can also take much higher resolution "megapixel" photos at more economical costs.

"We are excited about and supportive of the new IBM microdive," said Peter Jameson, director of Digital Capture, Kodak Professional. "We believe our customers, especially photojournalists and other deadline-driven professionals who use the Kodak Professional DCS 520 or DCS 620 digital cameras, will welcome the microdrive's small size and light weight, high-capacity storage capability and cost-per-megabyte ratio."

IBM microdrive fits into the industry-standard CF+ Type II slot that has become increasingly popular in the digital, hand-held devices markets. Microdrive also can be used in a PC Card Type II slot, using a PC Card adaptor.

For more information about IBM microdrive products, go to or call 1-888-426-5214.

IBM's hard disk drives for servers, desktop PCs, portable PCs and hand-held appliances received more than 20 awards worldwide in 1998. Also in that year, IBM had more data storage-related patents issued in the U.S. than any other major data storage product manufacturer. The company invented the hard disk drive and shipped the first drive in 1956.

IBM microdrive specifications:

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