Afreey announced it will begin volume production of multi-beam optical disc drives as early as the second quarter of 2002. The company has already completed the sample product, but because the design-in of a chipset from Infineon Technologies has lagged behind, it will not be ready for volume production until next year.
Other companies like Lite-On Technology and Behavior Tech Computer (BTC) have been cooperating with the Opto-Electronics & Systems Laboratories of Taiwan∑s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) to develop multi-beam technology. However, with core technology from UK-based ZEN Research and DVD pick-up heads from Sanyo, Afreey claims to be ahead of the competition by one or two quarters. Once Afreey begins volume production, it will be able to offer super speeds. CD-ROMs of 56x speed will go up to 100x or higher, and 16x speed DVD-ROM drives will be able to read at 25x or higher.