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Monday, April 07, 2003
Sony announces new blue laser optical drive


Sony today announced a new blue laser optical data storage disc drive and cartridge-type disc media (both rewriteable and write-once versions), which will be demonstrated for the first time at the Association of Information and Image Management (AIIM) conference in New York from April 7 through April 9.

The new media will offer 23.3 GB of capacity per disc, while the new drive sustains a maximum transfer rate of 9 MB/sec, making it ideal for professional data-intensive applications such as document and medical imaging, e-mail archiving, enterprise content management, multimedia projects, graphics design and audio/video editing. Both are expected to ship to OEMs this summer.

The drive and media will feature a durable, airtight structure to prevent dust particles from coming in contact with the drive mechanism and disc surface, increasing reliability for critical applications. Rewritable media and write-once read many (WORM) media for regulatory and secure storage requirements will be supported.

The 5.25-inch internal drives will incorporate an Ultra-wide 160 SCSI interface for easy integration into high-end workstations, servers and automated libraries commonly used for storage and archival purposes.

"The new blue laser optical disc drive and media will meet the capacity needs of storage users who have outgrown the 9.1 GB magneto-optical (MO) per disc capacity offered in the market today," said Rick Thong, marketing manager for storage solutions at Sony Electronics in San Jose, Calif. "In addition to offering more than twice the capacity in the same drive form-factor, the new drive and media also bring fast access times to customers who demand a high performance solution for quickly accessing and transferring files."

Several suppliers have already expressed interest in the new drive and media. Looking to the future, Thong said that Sony hopes to bring a second-generation drive and media to the market by 2005 that will feature 50 GB of capacity with a transfer rate of 18 MB/sec. He then expects this to be followed by a third-generation drive and media featuring 100 GB of capacity with a transfer rate of 36 MB/sec. Having pursued open alliances with many suppliers within the industry over the years, Sony will continuously strive to maintain its leadership position in the optical disc business.

Evaluation units of the new internal blue laser optical drive (model BW-F101) and media (rewritable PDDRW23 and write-once PDDWO23) are expected to start shipping to OEMs this summer for around $3,000 per drive and around $45 per disc. Both an external drive and a Sony-branded version of the drive are expected to be brought to the market before the end of the year.


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