TDK is moving into hardware with the release of its CD burner, the VeloCD.
The move is a first for the company, which is better known for its role in supplying CDs rather than components.
The VeloCD is targeted at the top-end of the market, according to TDK national business manager Brett Campbell. The burner features 12x CD writing and 10x CD-R/RW speeds with 24x ripping, and will retail for $799. For now, TDK is happy to test the Australian waters while it develops sales and service channels.
"We are looking to increase our profile in the components market and we are very happy to talk to distributors and resellers," Campbell said.
Although TDK has always dealt in computer components, such as thin film heads in notebooks, its operations have remained low profile. But with the media market maturing, the vendor is on the lookout for new opportunities within the industry. Many of its operations are driven from the US, then follow on around the world. The company has also begun releasing PlayStation games in the overseas market.
"We have got our fingers in a lot of different pies, and the response has been positive," Campbell said.
"The thing to watch is tech support issues, so we are getting a feel for that market."
TDK plans to bring out an external firewire 16x writer in February next year and has been holding training programs in conjunction with distributor NaSa Technology.
"Our name is well recognised - it is typically seen as a youth brand and people are comfortable with it. We can extend that to other products that are normally not associated with TDK, such as inkjet paper, because people trust the brand."
Campbell said although the technology is complex, TDK has employed easily implemented technology which makes it ideal for retail sales. The company handles many of its retail partnerships with the likes of Harvey Norman and Officeworks directly.
"We can offer not only the brand name, but a good quality product and a lot of experience in the retail market place - both in sales training and on-floor support and promotional activities," Campbell said.
"The product itself is fairly straightforward. That is one reason why we offer IDE devices as opposed to SCSI, because the plug and play capabilities make it easy to service in the channel."
The VeloCD also features Burn-Proof technology, which helps stop buffer run errors and comes bundled with InCD packet writing software, TDK's CD Blender, and MP3 and photo-sharing software. The company has also released a range of software titles which incorporate educational content with contemporary entertainment titles under a new business unit, TDK Mediactive.
"Our view is long term, with further titles scheduled for release as early as January 2001," Campbell said.