Toshiba sent out a press release this morning, announcing the launch of two new digital video recorders (DVR). The RD-A600 and RD-A300 support Toshiba's new "VARDIA engine" and can record two digital HD television programs at once. The two DVR's also feature an integrated HD DVD writer, giving users the ability to record programs directly to disc or transfer HD video from the hard drive.

Toshiba Corporation today announced two high-end additions to its VARDIA digital video recorders (DVR) that add the capabilities of HD DVD recordable drives to a wide range of advanced functions. The new DVR introduce the ability to record two digital HD television programs simultaneously, and also integrate Toshiba's new "VARDIA engine", which supports significant enhancements to ease of use and performance, including faster drawing of the graphic user interface (GUI) and improved HD DVD disc operation. The HD DVD VARDIA RD-A600 and HD DVD VARDIA RD-A300 will be rolled out in the Japanese market from the end of June.

The new models offer consumers a choice of hard disk drive capacities. The 600-gigabyte (GB) RD-A600 can record about 78 hours*1 of digital HD broadcasts to its hard drive in HD picture quality, while 300GB RD-A300 can record about 39 hours*1. Both integrate an HD DVD recordable drive that can directly record HD television programs to an HD DVD-R disc or transfer HD images stored in HDD to an HD DVD-R disc. Like standard DVR, the new recorders allow users to build libraries of their favorite content, whether dramas, movies or sport, but add the ability to do so in vibrant, high definition detail, by storing HD content to HD DVD-R discs.
While Toshiba has not announced a price, AV Watch expects the RD-A600 and RD-A300 to cost about 200,000 Yen ($1644US) and 150,000 Yen ($1233US) respectively. More information, including a full list of specs, can be found here. Add a comment
We've gotten word through one of our industry contacts that Verbatim and its parent company, Mitsubishi Kagaku Media (MKM), recently agreed to purchase SmartDisk's portable hard disk drive and digital imaging business. To help smooth the transition, several SmartDisk employees will also be joining Verbatim. While neither company has officially announced the deal, the transaction is expected to close in mid to late June. As we find out more, we'll let you know. In the mean time, feel free to leave your comments in the forum. Add a comment
While not optical storage related, its worth mentioning that Toshiba has introduced a 200GB USB 2.0 portable external hard drive. Based on the company's 2.5" hard disk platform, the drive is small enough to fit in a pocket and can be powered off a computer's USB bus.

Toshiba Storage Device Division (SDD), the industry pioneer in mobile storage products, today introduced a 200GB 2.5-inch USB 2.0 portable external hard drive capable of storing up to 57,000 digital photos, 52,000 MP3 music files, 88 DVD videos or 23 high-definition videos. The 200GB portable external hard drive delivers the highest capacity of any backup solution in the compact 2.5-inch hard drive class.
Toshiba's USB 2.0 portable external hard drives are available in capacities ranging from 100GB to 200GB. Their new 200GB model will set you back a cool $229.99. More information is available on Toshiba's website. Add a comment
Plextor Europe has announced a new pocket sized 160GB hard disk drive. Compatible with both Macs and PCs, the PX-PH16U2 can be powered off a computer's USB bus and comes preloaded with Plextor's PlexTools software.

Extending its range of personal storage and high reliability optical products, Plextor today announces a new portable hard disk drive - small enough to fit in your pocket. In a stylish, brushed aluminium case this high reliability, premium quality HDD offers excellent value for money. The PX-PH16U2 is also Mac and PC compatible.

Ideal for all types of media including video, music, photos and office files, the drive offers a practical data capacity for everyday use and the compact size (only 17mm thick and 200g in weight) means you can easily slip it into your pocket, briefcase or handbag. Included is a handy carrying pouch for extra protection.
No word on price. However, the PX-PH16U2 is expected to ship later this month. More information is available on Plextor's website. Add a comment
Verbatim has announced the launch of their new 12GB Store ‘n' Go USB drive. Based on 1" hard drive technology, this business card-sized drive comes preloaded with Mobile Launchpad for easy access to downloaded applications as well as stored files and folders.
Verbatim Corporation unveiled today its newest Store ‘n' Go? USB Drive based on 1" hard drive technology with up to 12GB of storage in a unit slightly larger than a standard USB flash drive. Designed to enable users to carry volumes of data, video and audio in a single portable unit; the new 12GB Store ‘n' Go USB will have a projected street price of $179. Verbatim will show the ultra-slim device for the first time this week at its CES Booth in the South Hall, #4/36249.

The new Store ‘n' Go Drive makes it convenient for users to keep vital information such as emails, photos, personal calendars, presentations and video files available at all times. The sleek USB storage device comes pre-loaded with Mobile Launchpad, a utility for downloading applications that can be run directly from the Verbatim USB Drive. Mobile Launchpad also allows users to have complete access to personal files and data without loading the content on a guest system. For quick and immediate access, the drives can also be used in the familiar drag 'n' drop mode.
Verbatim's new 12GB Store ‘n' Go USB drives will be available later this month and are expected to run about $179. More information can be found on Verbatim's website. Add a comment