6x Blu-ray Drives On The Horizon

Tokyo (Japan) - Sharp has developed new 250 mW blue-violet laser diodes which promise to bring a substantial speed boost to Blu-ray writers - up from 72 Mb/s today to a maximum of 216 Mb/s.

The manufacturer said that it will begin offering the new diodes in April of this year and provide mass market availability with a production capacity of 700,000 units per month. There will be two models - one 3.3 mm package for laptop Blu-ray writers and a 5.6 mm version for desktop drives.

The 250 mW output of the diodes, the highest achieved in the industry so far according to Sharp, is key to improve the recording speed of Blu-ray writers. Sharp said that the power level is enough to achieve an increase to 4x (144 MB/s) up to 6x (216 Mb/s).

Samples of the new diodes are available at this time, but aren't exactly cheap: Sharp charges 50,000 Yen or about $462 per unit.