Fujitsu is to begin shipping a 200GB hard-disk drive for laptops in the third quarter of this year.

Based on that schedule the drive could be available in computers for end-users within the year. That's earlier than Fujitsu predicted last year when it said such drives wouldn't be available until 2007.

The current highest capacity 2.5-inch drive from Fujitsu can accommodate up to 160GB of data so the new drive will represent an increase in storage capacity of 25 percent. Like the 160GB drive the new model will have a Serial ATA interface and is primarily aimed at entertainment and multimedia laptops, which often need a large storage area for video files.

The market for laptop PCs and non-IT products, such as music players and digital video recorders, is expected to see strong growth over the next few years and will become a focus of Fujitsu's efforts in the hard-disk drive space, the company said earlier this year.

The 2.5-inch laptop PC hard-disk drive market was 81 million units in 2005 and is expected to grow past 150 million units in 2008 to 210 million drives in 2010, the company estimates. In the same period the desktop PC drive market, which has been a mainstay of Fujitsu's drive business, is expected to contract from 240 million units in 2005 to 190 million units in 2010.