The key with technology is to be first, right? Wrong. As neatly summed up by Benny in his “Benchmarking Blues” editorial last week, too many companies push technology out the door before it is ready for market consumption. From a News Editor perspective, too many companies also brag about a breakthrough before they have properly nailed it down.
We’ve seen it time and time again with hard drive announcements and memory speeds. “xxxGB/MHz Achieved” with the final line “available in the year 200x”. My question(s): Is it an achievement if it is mostly theoretical and is the company that then brings it to market first - but whom announced it second - really a silver medallist? It’s like those readers who like to type First Post!!!!!!! on a comments page. Well yes you are, but did you have anything tangible to say?
So, looong drop intro apart (I had to get that off my chest), Blu-ray disc manufacturers seem to be doing the same thing proclaiming 50GB/75GB/100GB discs, then slamming in a "but..." Cue Sharp and its proclamation about a 100GB Blu-ray dual layer disc.
Let's look at the positives: there's loads of space and we don’t need to flip it over (like we do with the four sided TDK 100GBer). This has been achieved by a clever method of balancing transparency and reflection levels, ie: reflective enough that the drive laser can read from one layer, but transparent enough so it can also pass through to the next layer. The snag: it is not Blu-ray compatible. Oops.
That doesn't seem to matter though, because Sharp says it will be compatible after some tweaking (but didn’t put a date on when that would be). Here is a different idea: 1. A company creates something, for example, this clever transparency/reflection system, then 2. makes it work with what it is meant to work with, then 3. announces it to a joyous public.
Of course, the blame doesn’t lie only with Sharp in all this. It knows, as well as we all do, that if it doesn’t announce a half finished product, then someone else will steal its thunder. It’s a vicious circle and one that is not likely to end anytime soon.
Until this mythical time we’re all likely to keep getting more unstable review kit (sorry Benny) and more announcements about half finished technology (poor you). Perhaps I should just pack a rucksack, stick a piece of straw in my mouth, slap a fishing rod over my shoulder and head off to the plains? Or perhaps I should just pull myself together, shut up and stop complaining… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Ok, I’m good.