A future where home and small office PCs have almost unlimited hard disk storage capacity has come a little closer.

Eight major electronics companies will today announce they've formed a consortium aimed at standardising (and hyping) a new removable hard disk system based around 2.5in drives for use in computer and consumer electronics.

Members of the IVDR (Information Versatile Disk for Removable usage) consortium include some of the biggest names in Japanese electronics: Canon, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Phoenix Technologies, Pioneer, Sanyo, Sharp and Victor of Japan, otherwise known as JVC.

"The concept is that technology for hard disks is rising fast and people are getting stuck with the capacity they have. The new system will allow users to add extra capacity as they need it," said a source familiar with the consortium's plans.

As broadband internet connectivity spreads and digital video and audio become more popular, engineers are pushing the capacity of hard disks higher.

In January Toshiba demonstrated a working prototype of a 2.5in hard disk drive which packs 35.1Gb (gigabits) of data into one square inch of disk space.

A little further away from commercialisation, Fujitsu last year provided a glimpse into the future when it announced its researchers had achieved a data density of 100Gb per square inch in the laboratory.

The companies plan to officially unveil the consortium and their work to date on Wednesday this week.

They are not the only ones looking into such a system. At the same time as demonstrating its higher capacity hard disk last month, Toshiba researchers also demonstrated a prototype removable hard disk drive and companion consumer video recorder.