This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
HiFD was a magnetic disk developed by Sony and Fujifilm, and was one of several next-generation floppy disks (FD). With a capacity of 200MB, nearly twice that of Zip's 100MB and SuperDisk's 120MB, and a high-speed access rate of 3.6MB/s (1.4MB/s for Zip and 500KB/s for SuperDisk), HiFD was designed to be a highly compatible drive that can also be used with conventional FD's.
By 1997, development was at a level where a prototype could be made, and they were aiming to release the product in the spring of 1998. If the product had been released according to this plan, I think that it could have worked a little longer, but actually it was not released until 2000, Zip was released in 1994 and SuperDisk in 1996, so it was quite late.
In order to enable the same drive to read and write a conventional FD, the shape of the HiFD follows the shape of the FD. The size of the HiFD is the same: 94 mm long, 90 mm wide, and 3.3 mm thick.
The shutter section was made of metal. Unlike the FD, which covered a large area, the HiFD has a T-shaped shutter that only protects the access window. It is rather similar to MOs. Dust on the surface of the FD may fall onto the disc surface, but with this design, there is no need to worry about that.
The part of the HiFD's shape that differs most from the FD is that the upper right corner is not cut at an angle. Actually, this is not just a design, it is to prevent the HiFD from being inserted into a conventional FD drive.
When an FD is inserted into a conventional FD drive correctly, the diagonal part of this corner is used to unlock the drive side. When the disk is inserted backward, this oblique part does not exist, so that the lock cannot be released and the disk stops on the way. This mechanism is utilized well so that HiFD cannot be inserted into a conventional FD drive.
There was an illustration of the HiFD media on the label sticker base, explaining the name and meaning of each part. According to this, the uncut part at the upper right corner (where there is an indentation) is called "V Lock".
Incidentally, I think the role of the indentation is to prevent the incorrect insertion of the HiFD's back and front, but there is no mention of that.
Let's check out the differences by putting the HiFD side by side with the conventional FD. I have already mentioned the differences in the shape of the shutter and top right corner, but the other differences are the media identification window and the write-protecting part.
From the front, the HiFD does not have a window at the bottom. Instead, there is a window in the upper left corner, which is used to identify the HiFD's media.
Looking at the backside, there are windows for write-protection and media identification, although not through it. Although the position of the write-protect has been reversed left and right, but just because HiFD does not enter the conventional FD drive, I do not think a little what is the meaning of it. Is it insurance when it is possible to insert into the conventional FD drive by some mistake? Or maybe it has something to do with SuperDisk.
The HiFD looks quite similar to the FD in appearance, but the disk is quite fast at 3600 rpm, unlike the FD which has a 300 or 360 rpm rotation speed. The head is not a contact type, but rather a floating type like the HDD, which achieves high density and high-speed access. If it can be said crudely, it is an impression like the high-rotation Zip which matched the shape to FD.
HiFD was only released in 2000, but the 250MB Zip was already released at the end of 1998, and SuperDisk also realized 240MB in February 2001, so the advantage of capacity is not so great.
Moreover, unfortunately, the only drive sold to the general public was the Fujifilm's external drive with a parallel port connection and a transfer rate of 600KB/s, it was impossible to take advantage of the HiFD's high-speed access. In addition, although the compatibility with conventional FD was supposed to be a selling point, it cannot be used for the boot because of the parallel port connection. The internal drive was sold by IBM as an option, but it will not be able to be called a general sales channel.
Fujifilm is also keen to market this product in conjunction with digital cameras, and announced the FinePix Platform HA-700 in January 2000. This product is equipped with a HiFD, smart media, and PC card reader, and can copy files to and from each other, output to TV screens, edit digital albums, and link to digital photo printers.
It can also be connected to a PC and has a USB interface, and despite its large size (and higher price tag), it had the potential to be used as an external USB HiFD drive. However, plans to release it in March were postponed and then canceled in June. Apparently, there was a problem with Sony's HiFD drive supply, but the details are unknown.明です。
Due to the delay and an inappropriate way of marketing the drive, the HiFD was not widely available and disappeared quickly.
Reference (Japanese articles):