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Philips Focuses on Ease-of-Use for the Next Phase of CD-RW Development

EINDHOVEN, Netherlands, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Philips Electronics, co-developer of the CD and the world's largest manufacturer of CD-RW drives, sees a bright future for CD-ReWritable. With Philips' drive shipments alone expected to exceed 10 million this year and 20 million in 2001, CD-RW's popularity has prompted further development of the format, and Philips has now made improving ease-of-use the top priority. New technologies, the availability of low-cost media and an industry-wide initiative -- Mt. Rainier -- are widely expected to make CD-RW the new 'floppy disc.'

"Consumer demand is the driving force behind our re-investment in this format," said Marcel Walgering, of Philips Optical Storage. "With new writing technologies, simple intuitive installation programs, and our work with the Mt. Rainier group, we aim to build on the success of CD-RW by removing all complexities that the consumer may associate with the format. From drive mounting and software installation to formatting and drag-and-drop usage, we're working on all fronts to make CD-RW the most user-friendly, high-performance and affordable removable storage product."

The success of the format is already proven -- 3 billion CD-R/RW discs will ship this year and then there is the compatibility with the existing worldwide installed base of more than 300 million CD-ROM drives. Moreover, by enhancing the usability of CD-RW for data storage, consumers benefit from a reduced overall system cost (no floppy or CD-ROM drive required; backwards compatibility with CD-ROM), and gain a system that offers forward compatibility for video and audio storage. For example, the ability for consumers to create super video CD (SVCD) discs and CD-ROM discs with over 200 compressed audio (MP3) tracks, bridge the gap until next-generation, backwards-compatible DVD rewritable systems become commonplace and standardized.

"The Mt. Rainier initiative is particularly important to us," said Walgering. "Writing data on CDs, using a drag-and-drop interface, is currently not supported by any operating system. So far this has been handled by special applications that need to be installed on the PC. Working with other leading companies, we can provide direct OS support for CD-RW to make it as easy to use as a floppy drive. Easier and better, in fact -- disc formatting will take place in the background, transparent to the user, and the medium offers a much greater capacity for boot and disaster recovery."

With defect management built into the drive, and native OS support for hardware and dragging and dropping data onto CD-RW, Mt. Rainier will make CD-RW more user-friendly and affordable. Discs written this way will be automatically readable by other CD-RW drives or CD-ROM drives, without requiring a proprietary read driver, ensuring compatibility between all PCs.

Philips Components, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, is a world leader in supplying integrated digital electronic solutions in the areas of display, storage and power management to global customers in the Consumer Electronics, EDP, Telecom and Automotive industries. Philips Components with 1999 annual revenue of EUR 5.3 billion employs more than 40,000 people in 39 countries around the world. More information about Philips Components is available through the Philips homepage at

Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands is one of the world's biggest electronics companies and Europe's largest, with sales of EUR 31.5 billion in 1999. It is a global leader in color television sets, lighting, electric shavers, color picture tubes for televisions and monitors, and one-chip TV products. Its 239,400 employees in more than 60 countries are active in the areas of lighting, consumer electronics, domestic appliances, components, semiconductors, medical systems, and IT services (Origin). Philips is quoted on the NYSE, London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and other stock exchanges.

News from Philips is located at

SOURCE: Philips Components

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