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Appeared on: Wednesday, March 06, 2002
Plasmon announces development of ultra density optical (UDO)

Plasmon announced the development of Ultra Density Optical, the next generation 5.25" optical drive technology. UDO will be the world's first blue-violet laser optical disk drive developed for professional data storage markets and will deliver the performance of 5.25" MO, the longevity of 12-inch WORM and the cost effectiveness of DVD solutions.

UDO will utilize 405nm blue-violet laser and phase change technology from the recently announced consumer DVD type products. UDO media cartridges will be dimensionally identical to current 5.25`` MO to provide compatibility with existing 5.25'' library automation and both WORM and rewritable media will be available. The first generation product will provide 30GB capacity and a fast data transfer rate of up to 8MB/s. Future generations will increase capacity to 60GB and 120GB and backward read capability will be maintained throughout the product roadmap. Target markets include archiving, document imaging, call centers, email archiving, GIS, medical, telecom, banking, insurance, legal and government.

``Due to its compelling cost per gigabyte and WORM support, IDC believes UDO will quickly replace ISO MO in storage solutions,'' said Wolfgang Schlichting, Research Manager Removable Storage at IDC. ``With the support of the major ISO 5.25in. optical drive, jukebox, and media vendors, we believe UDO will have sufficient momentum to transition current users and possibly widen its user base,'' he added.

UDO is the future standard in professional optical storage and Plasmon is developing both drives and media in-house. The $25 million development program is fully funded and has been underway since June 2000. Plasmon has over 80 engineers engaged on its UDO development program and first product shipments are scheduled for August 2003. Plasmon is partnered with Asahi Pentax who is developing the opto-mechanical assembly for the drive based on their existing 5.25`` MO platform. Mitsubishi Chemical is the second source development partner for UDO media.

``Optical technology in a 5.25-inch form factor continues to be a viable choice for many applications where high performance and permanence of data are requirements,'' said Mary Craig, principal analyst, Gartner Dataquest. ``A new technology such as UDO holds the promise to sustain a tradition of market competitiveness and technical excellence which OEMs and users expect by providing higher capacities that can easily be integrated into existing optical library systems.''

``UDO is a convergent technology designed to work in a variety of storage applications that have historically depended on multiple optical technologies such as 5.25'' MO, 12-inch WORM, CD and DVD,`` said Nigel Street, CEO of Plasmon Plc. ''UDO provides the performance and benefits of the most robust optical technologies, at the price point of low-cost solutions such as DVD.``

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