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Floppy drive gets squeezed

Mitsubishi will offer PC makers a slimmer floppy drive that will let notebooks store up to 120MB of data.

Mitsubishi Electronics America says it will offer PC manufacturers a slimmer LS-120 floppy drive that will let notebooks store up to 120MB of data.

Mitsubishi says that new drive is an ideal replacement for existing 3.5-inch floppy drives in notebook PCs because of its ability to store significantly more data. The company's new slim-line LS-120 floppy drive provides 120MB of storage at five times the speed of a standard 1.44MB drive but can still read and write 1.44MB formatted data on the older disks.

While notebook users might welcome such a product, they will have to wait to see whether PC manufacturers incorporate the drives into new notebook designs. Volume production of the drives won't be reached until July, according to Mitsubishi.

In a separate announcement, OR Technologies demonstrated its own notebook version of the LS-120 drive, called the a:drive. While the drive uses the same essential technology as Mitsubishi's, the two products are made in separate facilities by the two companies, and the a:drive is slightly smaller.

OR Technology intends to sell the drives in the third quarter of 1997 through distributors such as Ingram Micro and Tech Data. The company says the drive will have a suggested retail price of $149.