Believe it or not, the DataPlay disc is making a comeback. Originally developed as an affordable alternative to flash media, these quarter-sized, 500MB optical discs made a big splash at the 2001 Consumer Electronics Show. The ideal solution for portable devices like MP3 players digital cameras and PDA's, the DataPlay disc quickly gained support from the computer and music industries. While a few DataPlay products did ship, production delays eventually pushed the company into bankruptcy.
In 2002, DataPlay's assets were purchased by a newly formed company called DHPI. Instead of selling off DataPlay's intellectual property, DHPI continued to develop the technology. Among other things, they replaced the proprietary file system in favor of FAT 12/16 and added support for USB 2.0, making the DataPlay platform compatible with computers running Windows, Mac OS and even Linux. DHPI's efforts haven't gone unnoticed either. They have a small, but growing customer base, including one of the world's largest optical media manufacturers, Ritek.
At the 2005 Consumer Electronics Show, Ritek gave visitors a sneak peak of their new DataPlay-enabled devices. On display were the TOPY Mini Writer and TOPY Photocopier. Sporting a USB interface and sleek design, the TOPY Mini Writer is the smallest DataPlay burner in the world. The TOPY Photocopier builds upon Mini Writer, adding a SD/MMC/Memory stick slot, FM tuner, voice recorder and support for MP3 play back.
While the TOPY Photocopier is still a ways off, the TOPY Mini Writer has finally made its way to the US. Thanks to the good people at Advanced Media, Inc. (Ritek USA) we were able to get one for review.