|Fate||Absorbed into parent company 1993|
|Headquarters||Milpitas, California, United States|
|Products||Hard disk drives|
Plus Development Corporation was a majority-owned subsidiary of Quantum Corporation and invented the Hardcard hard disk drive on a card which started a wave of companies producing similar products in the late 1980s.
Plus Development was formed in October, 1983, by a handful of Quantum employees, led by Stephen Berkley (President), Dave Brown (Engineering), and Joel Harrison (Architecture), based on a conversation over dinner between Nolan Bushnell and Quantum President James Patterson that Quantum needed to start building products for the end user market. Their goal was to provide a simplified upgrade path for the newly released IBM PCs which did not come with a hard drive. The company was originally incorporated as BBH Corporation (using the initials for Berkley, Brown, and Harrison), but also used the name Bits in Space for fun. It later changed its name to Qew Corporation (a pun on the first initial of Quantum), finally ending up as Plus Development Corporation.
Over the two years after Plus Development was launched, the team was working on some major industry firsts:
- A hard disk that installed in an ISA PC card expansion slot (not a PCMCIA slot not invented at that time)
- Host controller integrated with the hard disk printed circuit board (PCB)
- A drive controller chipset cheaper than any previously built
- Hard drive thickness of only 1”
- Consumer-focused installation of a hard disk
Within one year of the Plus Development introduction of Hardcard, 28 companies had released similar products. At that time, all of the other products were using a standard hard drive with a 1.6 inch/40.6 mm height forcing the card to hang over the adjacent PC slot. The hard drive was located on the opposite side away from the connector sometimes enabling a short half-length expansion card to be installed in the adjacent slot. These hard drive cards were usually described as occupying 1.5 expansion slots. Below are some of companies and product names with a similar product to the Plus Hardcard.
- JVC (Japan Victor Company)
- Kamerman Labs, (Beaverton, Oregon) – Slot Machine
- Maynard Electronics, (Casselberry, Florida) – On Board
- Microscience International Corp, (Mountain View, California) – EasyCard
- Mountain Computer Inc., (Scotts Valley, California) – DriveCard
- Qubie Distributing, (Camarillo, California) – Hardpack
- Tandon Corporation, (Chatsworth, California) – DiskCard, Business Card
- Verbatum Corporation, (Sunnyvale, California) – Data Bank
- Western Digital, (Irvine, California) – FileCard
Hard cards were the most desirable and easiest way to add a hard drive to the original Tandy 1000 lines that had 8-bit slots such as the Sx, Tx, Sl, Tl series. However Tandy offered a size reduced 10 1/2" slot, where as Plus hard cards took a full length 13 inches.
Hence Plus development hardcards are not physically compatible, as they are too long to fit in a Tandy 1000 computer. If the cover is removed, and the metal plate is removed so that a Plus Development card could fit in physically, it would work normally.
Over the eight years of its existence, Plus Development had only a single acquisition, La Cie, of Tualatin, Oregon, a manufacturer and direct marketeer of external hard drives for Apple Computer products. The trade paper InfoWorld published the announcement in their December 3, 1990, edition noting the $3.8 million cash transaction.
- Miranker, C.W. (1985-08-18). "Hardcard may be disk drive firm’s ace in the hole" (PDF). San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
- Levy, John (2006-03-16). "Plus Development launch". Computer History Museum. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
- Brown, David (2005-07-12). "The Genesis of Plus Development". Computer History Museum. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
- Welch, Mark J. (1986-06-16). "Plus Unveils 20-Megabyte, Faster Version of Hardcard". InfoWorld. IDG Communications. 8 (24): 13. ISSN 0199-6649. Retrieved 2010-06-30.
- Greer, Jonathan (1985-12-23). "Imitators are flooding Quantum’s Hardcard market" (PDF). San Jose Mercury News. p. 12E. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
- Welch, Mark J. (1986-06-16). "Data Storage: Hard Disk, Tape Backup Choices Grow". InfoWorld. IDG Communications. 8 (24): 37–43. ISSN 0199-6649. Retrieved 2010-06-30.
- "Plus Acquires a Direct Marketer of Apple Drives". InfoWorld. IDG Communications. 12 (49): 40. 1990-12-03. ISSN 0199-6649. Retrieved 2010-07-03.