Buffalo Technology has said that it has no plans to sell the world’s first external drive based on solid-state technology, the MiniStation SHD-UHRS, in the UK.

It now looks likely that the 2.5-inch form factor 100GB SSD drive, trailed by Japanese websites in December, was only a taster for future product directions and will never be sold outside the company’s home market of Japan.

The drive would have been ideal for laptop users for whom the improved performance and lower power consumption of SSD technology would have scored well. As the first such drive based on USB 2.0, it is also slightly smaller than an equivalent drive based on conventional 2.5 inch HDD designs.

The only drawback with this drive looked to be its price – over $800 based on a currency conversion from Yen – giving it an uncomfortably high price per megabyte.

The company has at least super-sized its range of conventional 2.5 inch HDDs, announcing the “half a terabyte in your pocket” 500GB MiniStation. The drive comes with limited two-year warranty and costs £207 plus VAT ($400) for the 500GB version.

The concept is identical, bar the capacity, to the MiniStation drive first announced some months ago, right down to the same functional industrial design and wrap-around USB cable. The drive is compatible with Apple’s much-criticised Time Machine backup system.

SSD drives started appearing in laptops some months ago, with a price premium to reflect their specialist nature. High-end drive systems based on SDD have even reached as high as 1.6TB, but the latest news confirms that mainstream SSD drives are only slowly emerging as direct competitors for conventional HDDs.