HP Kittyhawk

1992HP Kittyhawk

First failure of disk drive form factor to evolve to a smaller size

Why its important
Historically, as drive form factors (sizes) evolved from 24" (RAMAC) to 3.5" (e.g., Conner CP340), each new generation of form factor achieved substantially higher unit volumes and industry revenues than the previous generation, albeit at a lower cost per box. The evolution slowed with the 2.5" form factor which as of 2010 has not yet achieved any of these benchmarks [2011iSuppli] and ended with the HP Kittyhawk, an unsuccessful form factor.

In 1992 HP introduced the 1.3" Kittyhawk disk drive, the firstdisk drive of this form factor.The drive featured a number of unique technologies, including a built-in accelerometer that protected the hard drive from falls. Kittyhawk was claimed to be able to survive a 3-foot drop onto concrete while operating without loss of data.

Two years later (Sep 1994) HP withdrew the product. This was the first time a new smaller HDD form factor did not succeed, and was an early indicator of a fundamental change in the market progression towards smaller form factors at higher volumes.

As of 2010, all form factors smaller than 2½-inch including 1.8-inch, 1.0-inch and 0.85-inch have failed or appear to be failing in the market.

In should be noted that in 2008 Samsung announced a 1.3" HDD as the Spinpoint A Series; as of January 2010 Samsung no longer listed the product line on its webpage suggesting the product was short lived.

Additional Information
HP Kittyhawk 1.3" Hard Drive
HP plans to discontinue Kittyhawk 1.3-in. drives, Electronic News, Sept 12, 1994
The Lessons of New-Market Disruption
Lacie Little Disk 1.3 Inch Hard Drive
Christensen, Clayton M., "Hewlett-Packard: The Flight of the Kittyhawk" Harvard Business School Case Study, Oct 2006.
[2011iSuppli] Storage Industry to Maintain Growth in 2011 with Strong Enterprise Demand, iSuppli, Jan 2011

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