The new drives help cement IBM's position as the technology and market share leader in the mobile storage market, analysts say.
"IBM has been the market share leader, with 40 percent of the market last year," said John Monroe of Dataquest. "And they are far and away the technology leader. Today they announced 10GB and 14GB mobile drives. To date, no other competitor is even shipping an 8GB mobile drive."
IBM's new drives address the three different notebook categories-- premium, mainstream, and ultra-portable systems. In addition to the 14.1GB Travelstar 14GS, IBM also introduced the 10GB Travelstar GT for mid-range Systems, and the 6.4GB Travelstar 6GN for ultra-portable notebooks.
The Travelstar 14GS is targeted at desktop replacement systems, but that much storage capacity is probably more than most users will need, Monroe said. Only 2 years ago the maximum storage capacity of mobile hard drives was around 500MB.
"There's always 2 percent of the people who will buy anything. There are the real notebook requirements vs. what people will buy," Monroe said. "Even 3-6GB is an awful lot of data to carry around with you, but with emerging multimedia and voice recognition technologies, there are always ways to fill up disk space."
"Our research shows that people want the largest capacity hard drive they can get," said an IBM spokesperson. "They do want as much storage as they can get."
All three new hard drives feature IBM's Drive Fitness Test diagnostic technology, which helps reduce the risk of losing data stored on the hard drive during computer crashes. "In four out of five hard drives that are returned, no defect is found. This will prevent people from making unnecessary returns," IBM said.
"Four out of 10 notebooks shipping are shipping IBM hard drives," said an IBM spokesperson. "The IBM Thinkpad is a very important customer, but we have many other customers."
The IBM Travelstar 14GS will be priced at $845, the Travelstar 10GT will be priced at $715, and the Travelstar 6GN will be priced at $429. The drives will start shipping to PC makers in December.