Toshiba CEO Atsutoshi Nishida said during a keynote at the Ceatec trade show in Japan this week that his company is working to come out with hard drives based around patterned media that could replace perpendicular drives in a few years.
In pattern media drives, the magnetic material is segmented into independent points through imprint lithography. By separating the bits, the danger of one bit corrupting its neighbor is reduced.
Seagate, the largest drive maker, wants the industry to get behind heat-assisted drives. In these drives, the drive material is heated up before it records or erases data. Hitachi is promoting patterned media. Although both technologies will eventually be incorporated into hard drives, Seagate and Hitachi, and now Toshiba, disagree on which one should come first.
The agreement between Toshiba and Hitachi can partially be explained by the fact that the Japanese government is sponsoring some of the research into patterned media.