HD-DVD reading and writing coming to a mobile near you

Sdl902a_hddvdToshiba is showing off a new HD-DVD drive capable of reading and writing on the new media. HD-DVDs are garnering attention for their high-definition video playback, but like Blu-Ray, the optical disk format is also perfect for storing large amounts of data; HD-DVD typically can store 15 GB per layer, which compares to a typical DVD at 4.7 GB per layer.

The new SD-L902A drive has an 8 MB buffer and is under 13 millimeters high, which makes this usable in laptops. The drive is also backwards compatible with DVD and CD formats. No word on price, but expect to see this drive available in early 2007. Considering that Microsoft’s HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360 is due in at $199, I’d figure this optical drive to boost your notebook price by at least $350 or more.

Update: Engadget shows other models including an external one. Hmm….an HD-DVD movie on a 7-inch UMPC screen? Overkill, but cool. 😉