Under the agreement Lite-On -- the world's third biggest manufacturer of CD/DVD drives -- will work with C3D to develop and produce FMD drives. C3D claims that FMD technology will mean that a disk no larger than a CD-ROM could hold 100GB of data. It is also working on a credit card-sized removable storage device with around 10GB capacity.
However, some experts believe that FMD is years away from fruition, and claim that other companies haven't shown much interest in getting involved. C3D's only other significant partner to date is Ricoh, with whom it intends to develop write-once, read-many (WORM) drives.
Dr Eugene Levich, chief executive officer of C3D, claimed that the tie-in with Lite-On will help to drive interest in FMD. "Their manufacturing and distribution leadership has the potential to enable FMD technology to quickly proliferate through premium brands, and help to establish FMD as a technology of choice for the next generation of removable storage devices," he said.
FMD discs hold many times more data than a standard DVD because data is stored on multiple layers within each track, each of which can hold 4.7GB. These layers are coated with fluorescent material. Because there isn't interference between layers on an FMD disc, it's theoretically possible to store data on one hundred layers.
The company hopes to have products on sale by the end of 2001, starting with 10GB removable storage devices for digital cameras. The 100GB disks are scheduled for early 2002, and will be twenty-layer FMD disks.
However, at a recent demonstration to analysts and journalists in London C3D only showed off a prototype five-layer FMD disk.
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