Panasonic puts PD drive into notebook

Panasonic is putting its hybrid CD-ROM/magneto-optical drive technology into notebook PCs.

The Japanese giant today released the CF-62, a flagship for its PD drive which combines a quad-speed CD-ROM drive with a 650Mb magneto-optical drive. It will market the unit as a platform for CD-ROM pre-mastering, DTP and graphics file transfer, and even voice dictation: the firm says up to 10 hours of speech can be recorded onto a PD drive cartridge using a bundled sound utility.

PD drives have sold moderately well to desktop OEMs with over half a million shifted since April to the likes of Compaq and NEC. In the notebook format, Panasonic hopes to attract buyers tempted by Iomega's 100Mb Zip drive technology or Compaq's 120Mb LS-120 drive. It has already recruited 3M, Plasmon Data Systems and Toray Industries as PD cartridge makers.

100MHz and 133MHz Pentium-based products will be available on a standard specification of 1.35Gb hard drive, 16-bit sound, lithium ion battery, 2Mb EDO RAM-based graphics, 12.1in SVGA or XGA TFT screen, touchpad pointing device and CardBus slots with Zoomed Video (ZV) Port support. Prices start at £4,799.

Panasonic UK can be contacted on 0500-404041.

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