Maxtor, the company is set to branch into the notebook hard drive market.

According to Didier Trassaert, Maxtor's VP EMEA, the company will start manufacturing the 2.5in disk drive, possibly later this year, for the consumer market and is building a third production facility (to open mid-2004) near Shanghai, China to deal with what it predicts will be heavy demand. This facility isn't for manufacturing 2.5 inch products.

Maxtor nows joins Seagate in producing notebook drives but not the notebooks themselves - unlike Toshiba and Hitachi.

Meanwhile, Trassaert said Maxtor and other HDD manufacturers might find it necessary to move to perpendicular recording in 2006/2007 and that would open door to 800-1000GB drives (175GB/platter capacities).

In March, it will also announce a new 300GB Atlas drive, running at 10,000rpm, and a 147GB drive at 15,000rpm - an increase from 147GB and 73GB respectively.

The drives will be able to connect by either Serial ATA or Serial-attached SCSI to a backplane.

He told us that Maxtor expected there to be more consolidation amongst HDD suppliers, with some being swallowed up and others exiting the market. So Fujitsu, Toshiba and Samsung should be watching their backs.