Toshiba Launching Hybrid HDD by September

During a briefing session in Tokyo last week, Toshiba Corp president and CEO Norio Sasaki laid out the company's plans for its semiconductor/storage business. The plans include launching its "Hybrid HDD" in September which will be targeted at the Ultrabook sector.

Tech-On reports that Toshiba is aiming to achieve sales of ¥850 billion (approx US $10.7 billion) with its HDD and SSD business in fiscal 2015. To reach this goal, Sasaki said the company will increase the speed of integrating the development unit of NAND flash chips with the development unit for its HDD arm. Toshiba also plans to use "cutting-edge technologies" so that its SSDs stand out in the growing SDD market.

As for the Hybrid HDD, Sasaki didn't add much in details save for the September release. Naturally it will contain both NAND flash and hard disk platters, enabling a near-instant bootup process of an SSD along with the high-capacity storage characteristics of an HDD. The slim, light-weight form factor -- not to mention a low power consumption -- makes it ideal for Ultrabooks.

Toshiba is also looking to become one of the top three companies in the HDD market in terms of market share. Currently it's the only company that has both NAND flash chips and HDDs in the storage sector. Its market coverage of the HDD market also recently jumped from 70 percent to 100 percent thanks to its recent deal with Western Digital.

Last week WD said that it finally completed its divestiture of specific 3.5-inch hard drive assets -- manufacturing equipment and related IP -- to Toshiba, as required by regulatory agencies that conditionally approved the company's completed acquisition of Viviti Technologies Ltd. (formerly Hitachi Global Storage Technologies).

"The assets will enable Toshiba to manufacture and sell 3.5-inch hard drives for the desktop and consumer electronics markets and will enhance its ability to manufacture and sell 3.5-inch hard drives for near-line (business critical) applications," WD said.

So far Seagate is the only competitor with a hybrid drive on the market: the Momentus XT with 8 GB of SLC NAND flash memory and 750 GB of platter-based storage. The hybrid uses Adaptive Memory to identify usage patterns and move the most frequently retrieved information to the NAND flash. This means the drive overall is tailored to each specific user.

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