Toshiba has announced 10 and 20GB versions of its 1.8-inch drives, the 5GB versions of which are employed in Apple's iPod and SmartDisk's FireFly drives.

Apple will not confirm it uses Toshiba's drives in iPod, despite representatives of both companies acknowledging that Toshiba is the only company producing a 5GB drive small enough to fit in the music player.

The drives premiered at 2GB in May 2000, and grew to 5GB in June 2001. The increased capacity comes from the addition of a second double-sided platter in the drive.

Drives of 1.8 inches are the optimum size, says Toshiba spokesperson Amy Dalphy. "There are a lot of music players with 2.5-inch hard drives out there, but they're big," she added.

While she can't name customers, Dalphy says Toshiba is working with a number of companies - many of them start-ups - on a variety of product ideas that could use Toshiba's tiny drives.

"If they do make it to market, they will change the way we do things," she says of the unannounced projects in development. Dalphy expects products should start appearing between the middle and the end of 2002, or possibly earlier. Toshiba will ship its new 20GB drive in volume in February, and the 10GB version will follow in March.