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Toshiba to show slim HD DVD drive for laptops

All today's formats supported - and tomorrow's?

Toshiba will this week demo a slimline optical drive for notebook computers that will provide an HD DVD playback capability.

Toshiba TS-L802A HD DVD drive for notebooksThe TS-L802A measures 12.8 x 12.6 x 1.3cm and weighs 160g, Toshiba said. It has an 8MB buffer and connects across an ATAPI interface.

In addition to HD DVD playback, the drive supports 8x DVD-ROM, 24x CD-ROM, 3x DVD-RAM, 4x DVD-R/RW, 4x DVD-R dual-layer, 4x DVD+R/RW, 2.4x DVD+R dual-layer, 16x CD-R and 10x CD-RW - so it's got every format covered except Blu-ray, natch.

Last week, new HD DVD supporters Intel and Microsoft claimed HD DVD was the only next-generation optical disc format that will allow drive manufacturers to create slimline units. Nonsense, said Blu-ray backers HP and Dell a few days later in a point-by-point rebuttal of the Intel/Microsoft claims.

Toshiba's drive will get its first public outing tomorrow at the CEATEC Japan show, but the company said it expects to ship the product by the end of the year. It didn't say how much the drive is likely to cost, but with all that red-laser and blue-laser technology in there, it's not going to come cheap, we'd say.

In October 2004, Toshiba forecast it would ship an HD DVD-enabled notebook PC in Q4 2005. ®

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