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Hard drive giants put differences aside to create industry alliance

Four of the world's leading hard disk drive vendors prepare for eventual spike in hybrid technology by combining forces to establish new industry organisation

Hard disk drive vendors Hitachi, Samsung, Seagate and Toshiba have collaborated to form the Hybrid Storage Alliance in an effort to promote the use of traditional disks that incorporate flash memory.

The Alliance has outlined its goals as being two-fold: to increase awareness of how flash memory and hard drive hybrid technology can extend the capabilities of notebook computers and to accelerate market adoption of the technology.

Joni Clark, PC product manager at Seagate, and chairperson at the Hybrid Storage Alliance, said: "The hard drive industry is continuously looking for ways to bring greater value to the systems in which our technology resides and to those who use them. Adding non-volatile memory to the hard drive brings about a host of mobility benefits that increases the value users want in notebooks - longer battery life, faster response and greater system durability," she added.

The alliance has been formed in light of recent IDC research predicting that hybrid disk drives will constitute 35% of all HDDs shipped in portable PCs within the next three years.

John Rydning, research manager for hard drives at IDC, commented: "Hybrid hard drives combine the best features of two storage technologies in a single product to deliver high capacity storage for portable PC users. The formation of the Hybrid Storage Alliance by HDD industry participants is prudent to raise awareness of hybrid HDD technology benefits."

Microsoft's Vista will be the first operating system to utilise this technology.

Bill Mitchell, corporate VP at Microsoft commented: "Hybrid drives will leverage ‘Windows ReadyDrive' features in Windows Vista to enable a new generation of mobile PCs that boot up and resume from hibernation faster, optimise battery life, outperform standard hard disk drives, and are more reliable and robust," he said.

The Hybrid Storage Alliance states that end-users of notebook systems will enjoy a variety of potential benefits for hybrid hard drives including faster boot-ups, lower power consumption and greater durability.

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