Some sneak news here from NY Times, IBM are readying their next generation MicroDrive, weighing in at 1GB yet still the same small CF Type II package, increased shock resistance (now a claimed 1500G) it will be priced at US$ 499 ($0.48/MB) and said to go on sale in September. "The smaller size and accelerating density of magnetic storage systems are one of the remarkable stories of Silicon Valley. Disk storage is now increasing at a rate faster than the legendary Moore's Law improvement rate of the semiconductor industry. "

A portion of the NY Times article (registration required):

I.B.M. Device Raises Storage of Tiny PC's

Plunging deeply into the world of pocket-sized personal computing, I.B.M. will introduce today a version of its tiny Microdrive hard drive with a storage capacity of a billion bytes of information.

The new drive, which is the size of a book of matches, is a milestone in the evolution of magnetic storage, I.B.M. executives said, because it surpasses the same one-gigabyte barrier the company's original refrigerator-sized 3380 hard drive surmounted in the 1980's.

The smaller size and accelerating density of magnetic storage systems are one of the remarkable stories of Silicon Valley. Disk storage is now increasing at a rate faster than the legendary Moore's Law improvement rate of the semiconductor industry.

Moore's Law is the observation that the number of transistors that can be squeezed onto a silicon chip doubles roughly every 18 months.

When the first 340-megabyte Microdrive was introduced a year ago, it had a storage density of 5.04 billion bits a square inch. The current drive, which will ship commercially in September, has increased that density to 15.2 billion bits a square inch. The higher density means the tiny new drive is within 10 percent of the most advanced I.B.M. storage products now on the market, said John Osterhout, the marketing director for I.B.M.'s storage business.

The company said that it expected about one-third of the market for the new drives to be as storage devices for digital cameras. A one-gigabyte drive, which fits in the same storage slot as a flash memory card, could hold up to 1,000 high-resolution photographs, a thousand 200-page novels, or nearly 10 hours of high-quality digital audio music, the company said.

The company said that another third of the market would come as backup and data-transfer media for notebook and desktop computers. But in the future the company is most interested in an array of new markets based on hand-held computing devices like personal digital assistants and advanced digital cellular phones.

Phil says: Great news for price/MB of storage, not sure I'd like to put 1GB of images in one basket for too long...