Hitachi has upped the ante when it comes to Microdrive mini hard drives, announcing two new models due out later this year offering a whopping 2GB and 4GB capacity.

The drives will still fit into CompactFlash Type II slots, but will as much as quadruple the data storage capacity. Current top-of-the range cards can hold just 1GB.

The 4GB drive is currently being tested by several companies, including some leading digital camera manufacturers. The plan is to start shipping it in the US this November. Pricing will be approximately $500 (£320). No information on UK launch dates or costs are available yet.

Hitachi isn't the first manufacturer to increase the amount of storage on offer to those, such as digital camera users, who need to hold a lot of data on this type of media. Lexar Media is shipping a 4GB CompactFlash card, and SanDisk has promised a similar card later this year.

But while solid-state media, such as CompactFlash, can offer faster data access speeds and lower power consumption than hard drive-based cards like the Microdrive, this convenience comes at a price. Lexar's card costs $1,500 (£960), three times the price of the Hitachi media, while SanDisk's card is expected to be around $1,000 (£640).

Related links:
Lexar Media