Laptop hard drive shortage coming?

digitimes has reported that shortages of 1.8″ and 2.5″ hard disc drives are expected later this year due to the fast growing demand for ultra-portable laptops:

“Global supply of 2.5-inch hard disk drives (HDDs) may fall short in the third quarter of 2008 due to fast growing demand for use in Eee PCs, mini notebook PCs and UMPCs (ultra-mobile PCs), in addition to demand from traditional applications such as notebook PCs, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

In light of the popularity of Asustek Computer’s Eee PCs in the global market, other international PC vendors including Hewlett-Packard and Acer have offered or will offer low-priced portable laptop PCs or UMPCs, causing a related increase in demand for 2.5-inch HDDs, the sources pointed out.

There are only a few global suppliers of 2.5-inch HDDs, including Seagate Technology, Western Digital (WD), Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, Fujitsu and Toshiba, and makers of HDD components have not expanded their production capacities, the sources noted. Consequently, global supply of 2.5-inch HDDs may not be able to meet fast growing global demand in the third quarter, a traditional strong sales period for PCs, the sources pointed out.

WD’s production capacity of 2.5-inch HDDs has been booked up until September 2008, the sources cited WD Taiwan as saying. “

It sound to us that all the Eee PC clone manufacturers are going to have a hard time sourcing hard drives for their machines which can only benefit the more established players (HP, MSI, Asus) who probably already have supplies organized.