updated 08:20 am EST, Thu December 27, 2007
Panasonic 9.5mm Blu-Ray
Panasonic has revealed today that it has begun shipping samples of the world's thinnest Blu-ray drive. Advanced optics let the Japanese electronics firm reduce the drive height from 12.7mm (half an inch) to just 9.5mm (0.37 inches) tall; the slim profile allows it to fit in thin-and-light notebooks which have previously been locked out of the HD disc format, Panasonic notes. The drive is nonetheless fully capable and will write BD-R or BD-RE (rewritable) discs at 2X while also supporting dual-layer, 50GB discs and upcoming low-cost, organic dye discs.
The slim Blu-Ray burner also sports full legacy burning support and writes a single-layer DVD at 8X, similar to dedicated drives. Notebook manufacturers have access to the drives as of today; mass production is expected early next year and should result in finished systems in a similar timeframe. The drive will be exhibited at CES in January, though whether the tray-loading model will be accompanied by a slot-load drive is unknown. [via Impress]