“Up to now, we’ve made continual, incremental improvements in hard drives by improving the recording head,” said a TDK spokesman. “But this (new development) is a dramatic leap forward in technology.”
Hard drives record data through a magnetic head that hovers a few millimeters above the metal disks that make up the hard drive. An electric impulse through the head stores the data on the disk.
“Our new system is much the same,” says TDK, “except it incorporates a laser that applies heat to the section of the disk the head will write. This makes it easier for the head to write to the disk.”
As a result, this technology can record a revolutionary amount of data, more than doubling the amount of data that can be input into a single hard drive.“A 2.5 inch HDD typically holds around 500 gigabytes of data,” according to TDK. “With our new system, it will now hold above a terabyte of data.”
HDD is fighting for market share with flash memory, particularly in smart phones and tablet computers. Flash memory has the edge when it come to lightness and small size, but its price is about 10 times more than HDD for comparable memory capacity.
In addition to the vastly expanding memory capabilities of ordinary-sized computers, TDK’s new technology will allow hard disks to super downsize and offer not just cost competitiveness, but also highly completive size and weight, particularly against some types of flash memory.
At least in terms of memory devices, when TDK’s new high capacity HDD comes into volume production next year, they could well be a game changer in the smart phone and tablet computer business.