Toshiba isn’t throwing in the towel by any means. The electronic giant and champion of the HD DVD format of high-definition video discs is taking a page from the Sony book but doing the PSP maker one better. Starting in 2008, all Toshiba laptops will come with HD DVD drives installed. That’s a lot of laptops. Toshiba shipped more than 9 million in 2006, and figures should be higher this year. That could exceed 10 million HD DVD drives in laptops alone next year. Sony, one of the leaders of the Blu-ray camp, has started including Blu-ray drives in PlayStation 3 machines. Sales of those systems, however, are running well behind the best-selling Wii, from Nintendo. Those are essentially different systems, but one could make the argument that the Blu-ray drive in PlayStation ratcheted its price up a bit. Indeed, the PS3 routinely sells for US$600. Some industry experts predict that Toshiba’s decision to include hi-def drives in laptops will correspond to a similar bump in pricing, which could price Toshiba out of more of its market share. Toshiba, for its part, is looking to counter that a bit by doing whole hog into the NAND camp for laptop memory. Whether that translates into higher sales when the HD DVD capability comes onboard remains to be seen.
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