TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Toshiba Corp. (6502.T) aims to put disk drives for high-definition DVDs on all its laptops next year as it strives to gain an edge in the high-stakes next-generation DVD format battle, a Toshiba executive said on Tuesday.
Sony Corp. (6758.T) equips its PlayStation 3 (PS3) game consoles with Blu-ray drives to win people to the rival high-definition DVD format, and Toshiba should use a similar tactic, said Toshiba Senior Vice President Hisatsugu Nonaka.
“The demand is there: people want to watch their favorite movies in high-definition on the road,” he told reporters at a news conference.
Toshiba, which research firm IDC said shipped 9.2 million notebook PCs in calendar 2006, is seeking to land a knock-out blow against the Sony-led Blu-ray camp, but adding high-definition drives to PCs would mean higher prices and could hurt sales.
Sony shipped 5.5 million PS3s in the year ended March, of which 3.6 million were sold, as the PS3’s $600 price tag scared away would-be buyers and convinced others to opt for lower-priced rival consoles, such as Nintendo’s 7974.OS Wii.
Toshiba, the world’s No. 2 maker of NAND flash memory chips, also said it would sell laptops using flash memory for storage starting June 22, as it seeks new consumer demand for NAND chips.
NAND prices have fallen far enough to make feasible notebooks with 64-gigabytes of flash, needed to run Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT.O) Windows Vista operating system, Toshiba said.
“We think flash laptops are about ready to break into the consumer market, and will start to catch on around next summer,” Nonaka said. The new flash laptops are priced at around 400,000 yen ($3,286).
Flash laptops are lighter and quieter, but higher-priced than PCs with hard drives. Toshiba hopes such laptops would help double sales of its mobile laptops to 1 million units next year.