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Following the recent price drops of blue laser-based optical disk drives (ODDs), about 10% of personal computers (PCs) will incorporate either Blu-ray or HD DVD drive next year, a Panasonic executive said in an interview.

“The adoption of blue-laser optical disc drives (ODDs), Blu-ray Disc (BD) and/or HD DVD, built into desktop and notebook PCs will increase from less than 1% of all PCs in 2007 to 10% in 2008,” said general manager Masayuki Kozuka for the Storage Device Business Strategy Office of Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic) in an interview with DigiTimes web-site.

Earlier this year the same Panasonic executive said that Blu-ray and HD DVD ODDs will account for about 5% of all ODD sales this year. It is unclear whether reconsideration of estimates is a result of slower-than-expected adoption rate of modern ODDs, or the consequence of overoptimistic initial expectations.

Currently Japan is the market promoting blue-laser consumer electronics the most around the world. BD or HD DVD players as a percentage of all disc players/recorders sold in Japan has risen from 14.8% in 2006 to 20% in 2007 and is expected to grow to 50% in 2008, Mr. Kozuka is reported to have said.

While Blu-ray standalone players are still quite expensive, several companies, including Pioneer and Philips/LG recently unveiled relatively affordable Blu-ray disk drives for desktop PCs, whereas Toshiba offers cost-effective HD DVD drives for both desktops and laptops. With lower pricing and better support from movie studios, blue laser-based drives may truly face skyrocketing popularity in 2008.

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