Fujitsu Computer Products of America, makers of removable storage solutions, is getting a foot up on all the Macworld New York news by announcing today the expansion of its high capacity magneto-optical (MO) disk drive line.
The company is introducing a new 2.3GB drive that provides OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) with the highest capacity 3.5-inch removable optical disk in the industry, Dan Dalton, Fujitsu’s director of optical products, Storage Product Management, told MacCentral.
With its fifth-generation MO technology, the MCJ3230AP 2.3GB IDE drive nearly doubles the capacity of its predecessor — the 1.3GB line of MO drives. The new 2.3GB drive can read and write to all 3.5-inch MO media capacities, including 1.3 GB, 640MB, 540MB, 230MB and 128MB, as well as Over-Write disks (640 MB and 540 MB).
The 2.3GB drives will include new Land and Groove recording technology, which packs information “tighter” and basically doubles density. The cost for a 2.3GB disk will be under US$30. The new drive also provides 19ms seek time, data transfer rates up to 8MB/sec and an 8MB buffer size, making them ideal for audio, video and intensive graphic applications, Dalton said. In addition, the new MO product will help facilitate high-speed file backup for commercial systems such as telephone/PBX, medical and data acquisition systems, he added.
“As personal computer applications become more data intensive, the demand for higher-capacity magneto-optical solutions increases,” Dalton said. “With the addition of this 2.3GB MO drive, Fujitsu is delivering the removable storage industry’s highest capacity MO drives and has complemented the product line expansion with a price cut that places Fujitsu among the most affordable removable storage options on the market.”
Dalton said that higher worldwide volumes made it possible to lower prices. Also, Fujitsu has been able to reduce the cost of production itself, he added. As part of the price reduction, Fujitsu will offer MO drives for as low as US$219 for the DynaMO640AI drive, the lowest price ever for 640MB drives, he said. New pricing for the 1.3GB and 640MB series of MO drives will take effect this month, starting at around US$300.
“In the past, MO has been thought of as an expensive, vertically oriented solution,” Dalton said. “We’re hoping to change that perception.”
The new MCJ3230AP will be available in August through the distribution channel as well as through
FCPA’s Web site. The 2.3GB media will be available in August through the same distribution channels. Fujitsu will release an Ultra SCSI interface version of the 2.3GB drive by the end of the year.
Dalton said that Mac users comprised about half of FCPA’s customers. He thinks the price reductions will attract even more Mac users, as well as those of other platforms, to the MO arena. Although there are lots of competing technologies in the removable storage market, Dalton sees lots of growth for MO.
“MO provides a good fit for a lot of people because of its durability,” he said. “Certainly, digital video will be a growth area for us. We think that professional audio will as well, in addition to traditional backup and archiving purposes.”
Still, Dalton doesn’t foresee MO as an entry-level consumer product. FCPA is focusing on promoting its MO products in areas where a “rigorous application of data storage removal” is critical. This includes areas such as high-end graphics and desktop publishing.
“On the high end side of removable storage, there’s not a lot coming out other than tape, so we think that this medium will be good long term business for us,” Dalton said.