Imation to Ship DataPlay's Tiny Discs First
DataPlay and Imation, the maker of a variety of data storage products, are making the announcement on Tuesday.
The durable disks are expected to cost between $5 and $12 when the devices and media start shipping in the fourth quarter of this year. Players and recorders are expected to sell for $199 to $299, says Dave Davies, DataPlay's chief technical officer.
DataPlay's aim was to develop a very small storage device that would use little power for portable devices, possibly even fitting into cell phones, Davies says. DataPlay claims the physical engine is the smallest optical drive ever built, with a tiny optical head that's smaller than the head of a matchstick.
The technology is expected to be used most widely for music players at first and is capable of storing up to four complete music albums on a single disc. But it is well suited to store multimedia and data, too, he notes. One disc could handle "an entire typical 90-minute movie," Davies says. The densities are approximately equivalent to DVD, he says. Samsung and Toshiba are among the licensees.
The discs will be available blank or with recorded content that you can purchase in portions by obtaining a key for each additional segment, Davies says. Or, you can download content from a store kiosk.
"You can [unlock] it song by song or album by album," Davies says. "This way, you have the virtues of downloading without the problems." The company envisions the optical device as a place to archive family photos or documents--and its archive approach is the reason for the write-once restriction.
The company is also developing a way to integrate its format with existing Windows files, so a DataPlay disc can appear as another drive on your PC, and you could drag and drop files between it and other types of drives.
DataPlay's technology has already caught the attention of the recording
industry. Among the content backers are BMG Entertainment, EMI Group, and
Universal Music, which have indicated
Imation will be a semi-exclusive worldwide distribution partner and will market both blank and recorded digital media using the DataPlay technology, the companies say. Imation was among the companies that contributed to DataPlay's latest round of funding, worth $55 million, announced earlier this month. Other backers include Eastman Kodak, Intel, Sonic Blue, and Universal.