We met with Nick Kyriacou, Director, EMEA at Hitachi Global Storage Technologies to get some updates from him on the latest storage announcements from the consumer storage arm of Japanese conglomerate giant, Hitachi.
Apart from the fact that they will soon announce a new range of products (under embargo, sorry), the impression we've got from our one-hour interview is that the company is deliberately trying to adopt an AMD-like approach as in "we're not the best, but you can't beat our value for money".
Nick neither confirmed or denied that the company will be releasing higher capacity hard disk drives. We've put to him that Seagate has already announced that they will be selling a 3TB hard disk drive while several manufacturers have either announced or confirmed that they will be selling 2.5-inch drives between 500GB and 1TB.
Not only did he He replied with a smile that the company was going for the profitable part of the market, where most of the business is done and in the laptop market, this means going for capacities up to 500GB.
HGST internal analysts have crunched data obtained from their own sources and industry reports like IDC and found out that most of the sales, as in most hardware segments, are generated by the mainstream rather than the higher end gear.
While IBM/HGST has been a pioneer in the storage segment over the last 55 years (first hard drive, first TB hdd, GMR, PMR, microdrive), they now seem to be contend to leave the role of innovator to competitors like Seagate and concentrate on being more profitable.
Innovations like the first 640Gb per platter (demoed back in August 2008) have not been followed up with more ground breaking announcements. Indeed, we were surprise to learn that the 2TB Hitchi drive, the 7K2000, uses 400GB platters rather than 500GB ones present on the 7K1000C.
The issue though is that the market has transitioned from being a relatively niche one a few years ago to a more consumer, box shifting market where profit margins are decreasing and one which depends on volume.
So, although Nick wouldn't say anything about unannounced products (we tried our hardest), we expect them to keep away from launching their own consumer SSD range, any Hybrid drives (like the Momentus XT), or very high capacity drives.
As HGST's EMEA director puts it, they will no longer introduce technology for the sake of technology although he did say "watch this space" a number of times.