Miniature hard-disk drive maker Cornice will launch higher-capacity drives at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week.

The company's fourth generation drive will be available in 8GB and 10GB versions later in the first quarter, said Kevin Magenis, a cofounder of the company. The new drive, which like previous models has a 1-inch diameter platter on which data is stored, can not only hold more data but is around 40 per cent physically smaller than Cornice's 4GB drive, he said.

Cornice makes mobile play

"When we started almost 20 months ago designing the drive we asked ourselves what are the most important attributes for a next generation product," said Magenis. "Thinness was very popular as was the X-Y size (the drive's length and width) so we shrunk it down."

The drive measures 30mm by 40mm by 3.5mm.

Cornice is targeting the mobile phone market, which it anticipates will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 325 per cent between 2004 and 2009. It expects about 72 million mobile phones with embedded drives will be shipped in 2009 out of a global total of around 1 billion handsets.

If that happens the mobile phone market will dwarf the personal storage and portable audio player markets, which Cornice expects will stand at 10 million and 43 million shipments respectively in 2009.

Cornice has already seen its hard-disk drives embedded in a mobile phone from Samsung and the company is already seeing demand for the new drive for use in other handsets.

There are half dozen phones based on the new drive that will be in volume production in the first quarter or the second quarter, said Magenis.

CES runs between January 5 to 8.