Today, Toshiba announced an 80GB hard drive for automotive applications, doubling the capacity of current automotive hard drive offerings. Over the last year, we've seen an increasing number of cars with hard drive-based navigation and music servers, but the capacity topped out at 40GB, in the 2008 Cadillac CTS. An 80GB internal drive would likely reserve 10GB for map storage, leaving 70GB for music, video, and photos. The new 80GB automotive drive is 2.5 inches, similar in size to a laptop hard drive. Laptops have had drives well in excess of 100GB for some time now, but automotive hard drives have to stand up to harsher vibration and other environmental conditions. Toshiba says that its new drive reduces vibration by 50 percent over current automotive models. Its read/write head uses an aerodynamic design and floats on an air cushion to keep it a constant distance from the disk, allowing it to operate at altitudes of 18,000 feet above sea level. The new hard drives will ship in March, 2008. Aftermarket car stereos could start using them in the next year, but don't expect to see them as factory options in cars until the 2010 models.
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