Fujitsu, Sony unveil 2.3G MO drives, discs

Fujitsu and Sony unveiled the latest upgrade to the Magneto Optical (MO) rewritable optical disc here Wednesday, a day before the CeBIT trade show starts. The two companies are showing prototypes of new drives and discs that can hold up to 2.3G bytes of data -- almost double the current highest capacity disk.

The new 2.3G format is expected to go on sale by the fourth quarter of this year and is targeted for use as a backup for commercial systems, such as telephone switches and automated teller machines (ATMs), and for backup video and other applications that use large volumes of data, the companies said in a statement. Drives for the new format include support for the Media ID copy protection system and are compatible with the previous 3.5 inch MO formats from 1.3G down to the original 128M-byte discs.

Introduction of the format means increased competition in the high-capacity removable media market, especially for DVD (digital versatile disc)-based formats and Iomega's Jaz, which currently dominate the market over 2G bytes. First generation DVD-R and DVD-RAM discs will hold 2.6G bytes of data per side with second-generation versions of the same format storing up to 4.7G bytes. Jaz cartridges hold 2G bytes of data.

Below 2G bytes, competition will come from existing 1.3G byte MO discs and other formats including the immensely popular write-once and rewritable CD-R and CD-RW formats, and the recently-announced Double Density CD. Expected on the market from April, the Sony-developed DD-CD can store up to 1.3G bytes of data. The two companies said they have already received support for the 2.3G MO standard from Olympus Optical Co. Ltd. and Konica Corp. for the drives and Teijin Ltd., Hitachi Maxell Ltd., Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. and Ritek Corp. for the media.

Fujitsu, in Tokyo, can be contacted at +81-3-3216-3211 or online at Sony, in Tokyo, can be contacted at +81-3-5448-2111 or online at

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