Optical Drive makers face uncertain future

Optical drive makers are a bit worried about their future.

Apple has stopped shoving them in its machines and Intel is equally aggressive pushing its new ultrabook design.

All of these suggest that such drives will go the way of the dodo on the mobile market, particularly as Blu-ray drives never really got out of the “too expensive” price range on PCs.

Digitimes said that Taiwan-based ODD player Lite-On IT was optimistic pointed out that its shipments are unlikely to see 20-30 percent growth in the third quarter of 2011.

However the reason for that is shipments of its gaming ODD and slim-type ODD, the company’s ODD shipments in the quarter is still expected to see growth compared to the first and the second quarter.

Lite-On claims that it is ready for ultrabooks but cannot reveal any detail as the company is still in discussion with its clients. This suggests that there might be a super slim, cheap player in the works.

Digitimes thinks that a slim drive has already become the major shipment segment for each ODD maker. However it is not easy. Half-height ODDs are facing an already saturated desktop PC market. Indeed there has been dropping shipments each quarter. As it is stacked the optical drive might be going down the path of the floppy drive, the Norwegian Blue and the News of the World into the tar pit of history.

Digitimes Research was quoted as thinking that Blu-ray drives will be killed off by streaming media. External hard drives, will gradually replace traditional drives.

Blu-ray drives never showed the surging growth originally expected, although shipments are still growing stably every quarter, Digitimes beancounters said.