Floppy disk media is about to lose one of its key advantages over CD-ROM technology - the ability to write and rewrite data.
This summer a number of major manufacturers of optical storage devices will begin shipping CD-ReWritable drives and disks. One company, Philips, will release a unit that combines a plug-and-play CD-ROM reader, a CD-Recorder and a CD-ReWritable drive.
The device, called CDD3610, reads disks at 6X speeds and writes media at 2x transfer speeds. The CD-ROM function allows users to read large amounts of data, while the CD-Recordable feature can be used to create your own CD which Philips said will run on any of today's installed base of over 15 million CD-ROM drives.
The CD-ReWritable feature allows users to write, erase or rewrite on a special disk. However, these CD-ReWritable disks will not work on standard CD-ROM drives.
According to Philips, demand for greater storage capacity and the ability to update large files has created a need for CD-ReWritable. Initially, the drives will be targeted at the graphics, portable database and data archiving markets.
Jan Oosterveld, president of Philips Key Modules, the division which handles optical storage devices, predicted: "Three million Recordable CD devices will ship worldwide this year. It is the fastest growing product sector in the CD family."
CD-ReWritable will sell alongside existing CD-Recordable devices. Hans Driessen, a European marketing communications executive at Philips, said the two products served very different markets.
He explained: "If you're archiving then you probably won't want to make any changes to your data. In that case CD-Recordable would be perfect.
However, if you're creating portable databases or performing backup, then you probably would want to make changes, and you'd be better off with CD-ReWritable."
However, Driessen said he believed CD-ReWritable may well replace CD-Recordable devices one day.
Philips' CDD3610 will sell for $900 (#549) and the CD-ReWritable disks for $25 each.These will be bundled in selected ErgoPro systems from Fujitsu.
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