Inphase promises 300 GByte holographic disc for 2006

Las Vegas (CA) - Inphase currently demonstrates its Tapestry drives and holographic media at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference in Las Vegas. After five years of development, the manufacturer says the photopolymer-based discs will enter mass production next year.

Inphase's holographic disc already was labeled vaporware, but the company now appears to finishing up the development of the technology and preparing drive and media for a broad announcement in 2006. The prototype drive announced in January as well as recording media are currently demonstrated at NAB.

According to the manufacturer, the media offer a data density of 200 Gbit per square inch, which is about 50 percent higher than current harddrives, and 14 percent less than the 230 Gbit promised by Hitachi for harddisks expected to be available in 2007. Inphase promises 300 GByte storage space for the first generation Tapestry drives and DVD-sized disks. By 2009, the company aims at a capacity of 1.6 TByte. Data transfer rates are believed to come in around 27 MByte per second.

"The InPhase legacy of persistent invention has produced numerous breakthroughs on the road to commercial holographic recording systems. This will impact data storage options for consumers and professionals alike," said Kevin Curtis, chief technology officer of Inphase.

Holographic storage technology is able to deliver higher densities and capacities by recording data throughout the volume of the recording material, and not just on the surface. A data page of approximately 1 million bits is recorded in one exposure of the laser. Each data page is located at a unique address within the material and several hundred pages of data, each with their own unique address, are recorded in the same location of the medium. According to Inphase, holographic recording technology allows not only to overlap pages, but also complete collections of data pages, called "books". The creation of such holograms would increase storage density "dramatically," the company said.

Inphase so far has not revealed detailed pricing plans. But Liz Murphy, the firm's vice president of marketing, told Tom's Hardware Guide that Tapestry will not be aimed at the consumer: The first drives are likely to be priced in the $10,000 range with media to be offered at around $100.

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