Hard drive manufacturer Western Digital has developed technology that could enable 640GB 3.5-inch laptop drives and 3TB desktop drives.

The company revealed the technology this week at the Perpendicular Magnetic Recording Conference in Tokyo after an earlier demonstration in California.

Western Digital claims to have achieved 520 GB/square inch areal density, the industry's highest demonstrated density to date using continuous media, the company said.

"WD was the first hard drive manufacturer to ship in volume the 250GB capacity point in the 2.5-inch form factor," said Hossein Moghadam, chief technology officer for WD.

The high density has been achieved through use of the company's proprietary perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR)/tunnelling magneto-resistive (TuMR) head technology.

Products employing this are expected to be made available iin 2010.