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DataPlay And Toshiba Form Joint Venture

11/06/2000 02:00:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK -Removable storage maker DataPlay and Toshiba have struck a deal to form DataPlay Japan, a company that will handle marketing and sales for DataPlay media and hardware in Japan.

Toshiba also took a significant financial stake in DataPlay, joining Samsung and S3, maker of the Diamond Rio portable digital music players, said DataPlay CEO Steven Volk. DataPlay Japan will also oversee all OEM licensing arrangements for DataPlay blank media and optical engines designed by Japan-based manufacturers.

DataPlay unveiled its quarter-size 500MB media and optical drive last June. Each disk is write-only and will cost between $5 and $10, compared to $150 for a 64MB flash memory card. The disk has the capacity to be scaled to 1GB.

The optical engine, which Volk described as more akin to a miniature DVD-R than a CD-R drive, is energy efficient, making it suitable for battery-powered products.

The DataPlay CEO has spent a great deal of time securing the acceptance of the media by the music industry, and several labels will show prerecorded music on DataPlay disks at CES.

Even though DataPlay media can handle the same tasks as flash memory cards, Volk said the two formats are not direct competitors, and flash will dominate in areas not suitable for a write-once media.

However, in such products as digital audio players, DataPlay should dominate, he said. "I think it will be difficult to sell a flash-based device against DataPlay," Volk said.

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