Panasonic is targeting the notebook computer market with the launch of its first portable PD drive. The LFI500EPB, weighing in at 880g, is a 650Mb rewriteable cartridge and eight-speed CD-ROM player in one unit. The drive can read CD-ROMs as well as use rewritable phase change optical (PD) disks. Instead of requiring SCSI drives, it is designed to attach easily to notebook computers or PCs via a 25-way parallel port. Typical applications include data distribution, data transfer, data backup and archive and disk flushing. Play, track select and volume controls allow the drive to be used as an audio CD player without the need to connect it to a computer. Richard Todd, product manager at Panasonic Computer Peripherals, said the LF1500EPB is guaranteed to be compatible with forthcoming Panasonic DVD-RAM drives which will support read and write to existing PD disks. The LF1500EPB drive comes with Seagate Backup Exec software for Windows 3.1 and Windows 95, one PD optical disk and a price tag of #299. An AC adaptor and relevant software drivers are also included. Panasonic's PD drive is based on phase change technology developed by its parent company, Matsushi. The PD drive uses a single laser beam to change the optical media from an amorphous (non-reflective) state to a crystalline (reflective) state making it immune to magnetic glitches. Panasonic: 0500 404041.
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