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Maxell to offer 300GB holographic discs 'late 2006'

Future 1.6TB units make Blu-ray look like cassette tape

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Maxell will ship its first holographic storage system late next year, the company has pledged.

The storage specialist will initially offer a removable system based on 300GB media and capable of transfering data at a rate of 20MBps, Maxell said. However, the company said the technology, designed by InPhase Technologies, is capable of achieving 1.6TB per disk - and that's uncompressed capacity - with a 120MBps bandwidth.

InPhase was founded in December 2000 by Lucent, and has been working on holographic storage - in which data is encoded as a 3D pattern written and read by laser beam - ever since. In addition to the colossal storage capacity, InPhase promises a data archive life of over 50 years, not much different to the longevity claimed by most optical media makers - a CD-RW for instance will typically retain data for 20-100 years, depending on which manufacturer you speak to.

InPhase isn't the only company promoting holographic storage. Japan's Optware - which in July won $14m in funding from four companies, one of which was Toshiba; it also has backing from Intel Capital - is working on a DVD-sized holographic disc is says will hold more than 1TB of data with a throughput of 1Gbps.

The format is dubbed HVD - Holographic Versatile Disc - and Optware is already pushing a 200GB HVD-RW disc type through the HVD Alliance, an organisation supported by Optware, Fuji Photo and half-a-dozen or so Japanese chemicals companies. ®

Maxell holographic storage system

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