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  • Sony Shows Prototype 200MB HiFD Drive at Windows World Expo
  • July 8, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Sony Corp. displayed a prototype of its next -generation high-capacity HiFD drive at Windows World Expo/Tokyo '98 held July 1-4 at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba prefecture.
    HiFD is a new storage medium and the drive is being developed by Sony and Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.

    HiFD means "high capacity floppy disk." It is a storage medium of about the same size as a 3.5-in. floppy disk , yet it is capable of holding 200MB of data, or about 140 times as much as a standard floppy disk (See chart) . Moreover, because HiFD drives have read/write compatibility with standard floppy disks, keen interest exists on when they will be commercialized.

    Two types of HiFD drives were demonstrated at the Sony booth, an external model connected to a notebook computer via a PC card, and an internal HiFD drive built into a desktop computer. Both types are expected to ship in the fall of this year.

    The external HiFD drive can be connected with a PCMCIA card or with the parallel port on the user's PC. The internal model shown at the Tokyo trade show used an ATAPI interface, although Sony may instead use a SCSI interface. Universal serial bus (USB) and IEEE 1394 standards also are being considered.

    The price of the HiFD drive is not yet decided, but it will likely be set at a level to compete against rival products.

    "We're looking at how it will compete in terms of pricing against the Zip drive and SuperDisk," a Sony official said.

    Because the HiFD drive is intended to replace the conventional floppy disk drive, Sony will concentrate on promoting the internal model and not the external HiFD drive.

    "The large storage capacity of the HiFD may immediately suggest its application in design, DTP and other such fields," a Sony official said. "But we anticipate that most HiFD users will be general consumers who have been using standard floppy disks. Sony hopes to provide an environment that will enable ordinary PC users to handle video, graphics, MIDI data and other mass data with ease."

    For this reason, a HiFD drive built into a personal computer will probably be marketed before any external models become available.

    Chart: Prototype HiFD

    (return to news)
    Related story: Windows 98 A Big Hit at Windows World Expo/Tokyo '98

    (Hi-Tech News Center)

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    Updated: Tue Jul 7 16:30:08 1998