Western Digital and SanDisk have confirmed that they will be developing so-called hybrid hard drives or SSHD (Solid-State hard drives). The latter will provide the former with iSSD which Western Digital will then include in their hard drive as a buffer memory.
The first hard drive range to benefit from this improvement will be Western Digital's Black 2.5in hard disk drive series. It is not known at the time of writing whether HGST, which is now part of Western Digital, will also benefit from this improvement.
Arguably, it is not the first time that SSHD are being produced. Seagate, with its Momentus XT series, pioneered the concept of hybrid hard drives at the drive level. Both storage companies though have adopted two different strategies.
Western Digital and SanDisk will both focus on their forte, with the iSSD being provided as a standalone SSD with a standard SATA connector in a BGA-156 form factor. Seagate, on the other hand, had total control on every step of the development of the Momentus XT.
The first generation Western Digital Black drives will have up to 32GB of MLC NAND and it remains to be seen what capacity the first drives will have. One can expect these to be popular with slimbooks and thin-and-light laptops that are flooding the lower end of the market.