Hitachi today announced a milestone in its development of the world's smallest read-head technology. The new recording heads have been reduced to 30-50nm (nanometers) — 2000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Disks using the new 50nm heads are expected to start shipping in 2009 with the 30nm technology coming to market in 2011.
Will solid state hard disks make this technology redundant before it's been put to use? Hiroaki Odawara, Research Director of Hitachi's Storage Technology Research Centre doesn't think so: "Hitachi continues to invest in deep research for the advancement of hard disk drives as we believe there is no other technology capable of providing the hard drive's high-capacity, low-cost value for the foreseeable future."
Fueling the ‘Terabyte Era', Hitachi were the first to produce a consumer grade 1TB hard disk earlier this year. That groundbreaking disk packed 148 gigabits per square inch; with Hitachi's new heads, data densities will be able to reach 1 terabits per square inch. This is a serious improvement and, seeing as my hard disk space disappears at an alarming rate, it's something I can't wait to take advantage of!