Well, well, lookee here; Toshiba has announced new 1.8-inch hard drives with 80GB and 160GB capacities, the latter with two platters.

The 160GB device, the MK1626GCB, can transfer data at 52MB/sec. It has a CE-ATA interface, suitable for small, hand-held mobile devices. The 80GB MK8022GAA has a PATA interface and faster transfer, 66MB/sec. Both spin at 3,300rpm and have 15 millisecond seek times.

These drives may be used in Apple's iPod Classic, neither company is saying, but the launch date and format suggest that's the case.

The areal density is amazing, thanks I guess to second-generation perpendicular recording. It is 353Mbit/sq mm. Converting square millimetres to square inches by mutiplying by 645.2 that gives us 227755.6Mbit/sq in or, I hope (!) 227.7556Gbit/sq in.

Tosh has unveiled Discrete Track ecording (DTR) technology to stick a seprating 'groove' between perpendicular recording tracks and increse the ability for read/write heads to deal with fain signals from smaller magnetised areas. It reckons track density could go up by another 50 percent and has demo'd a 120GB platter at 1.8-inches.

Expect then a 50 percent capaity boost on these drives in 2009 or so, up to a maximum of 240GB.

Natch, Seagate and Western Dig will follow suit and we'll have 375GB 2.5-inch drives and 1.5TB 3.5-inch ones. Seagate has just announced a 1TB 3.5-inch Barracuda.