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A DataPlay Digital Media disk. Courtesy of DataPlay Inc. Kodak, Intel, Olympus invest in DataPlay!
(Monday, June 11, 2001 - 15:37 EDT)

Announcement brings two more likely sources of digital cameras based on DataPlay media...

DataPlay Inc. has announced the closing of a $55 million round of financing which included investments from big names such as Kodak, Intel and Olympus - and interestingly, musician David Crosby! The announcement and a related press release from Kodak suggest that Olympus and Kodak could be considering the introduction of DataPlay-media based digital cameras. Until today's announcement, Toshiba was the only major digicam manufacturer to have thrown its support behind DataPlay's storage media, having shown concept cameras including a DataPlay-ready PDR-M70 at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year.

The DataPlay disc is an optical storage disk about the size of a quarter, and will ship in two capacities - 250MB or 500MB per disk. The disks, which can be written to only one time (and can be sold pre-mastered, meaning that content such as music or programs are already written to the media), will ship in packs of 1, 3 or 5 and will have a retail price of $5 - $12 per disk. Archival life for the format is claimed to be 100 years...

It remains to be seen whether DataPlay media will catch on - our guess is that if the archival capabilities are as good as DataPlay claims, the media could prove very well suited to digital imaging purposes thanks to a combination of relatively high capacity, and low cost. If, however, the media doesn't prove well-suited to long term storage of images, or DataPlay drives don't become prevalent enough that customers feel secure that they'll be able to access their images 15 or 20 years down the road, the ongoing costs of a write-once, read-many media could prove detrimental.

In the meantime, we'll look forward to the first DataPlay products reaching the market, and to these questions being answered. We'd certainly appreciate the ability to have a small, cheap, long-lasting means of capturing our images and storing them for posterity! Current plans seem to be to introduce the media later this fall, likely aiming for a ramp of DataPlay products (hopefully including digital cameras) to appear in time for Christmas 2001...

Source: DataPlay Inc.

Original Source Press Release:


Kodak, Intel, Olympus and Trans World Entertainment Participate in Financing

June 8, 2001 - BOULDER, Colo. - DataPlay, Inc., announced today that it has closed a $55 million round of financing, bringing the total capital raised since the Company's inception to $119 million. This financing includes significant investments from leading consumer electronic device manufacturers, technology companies and retail distribution. DataPlay is committed to becoming a standard for the distribution and recording of digital content such as music, video, digital images, games and software in the consumer electronics marketplace.

This current round of financing includes investments from Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE: EK), Intel Capital, Olympus Optical Company, Ltd., Trans World Entertainment (NASDAQ: TWMC), meVC Draper Fisher Jurvetson Fund I (NYSE: MVC), Imation Corporation, Sequel Venture Partners, Colorado PERA, Portage Venture Partners, SG Cowen Securities Corporation, A.G. Edwards Capital, Graystone Ventures and musician David Crosby.

"DataPlay digital media is a creative, exciting technology that we expect will make a huge impact on the way people use and store digital content not only with digital cameras, but all consumer electronics," said Yusuke Kojima, Division Manager, Olympus Optical Co., LTD. "We view DataPlay as an integral part of our efforts to incorporate advanced technologies that let our customers get more use and enjoyment out of Olympus products."

The DataPlay solution includes three primary offerings: DataPlay digital media, DataPlay micro-optical engine and ContentKey™, a content distribution, marketing and e-commerce tool. DataPlay's miniature optical media, approximately the size of a quarter, allows access to all forms of digital content across all digital devices and platforms, including images, documents, software, games, video and more. One 500 MB digital media can hold over 11 hours of music downloads or five complete pre-recorded albums of CD-quality music, hundreds of high-resolution photographs or dozens of games, and will retail for around $10.

"DataPlay digital media is an ideal solution for today's technology-savvy consumer," said Robert Higgins, chairman and CEO of Trans World Entertainment, the largest specialty music retailer in the United States including FYE, Camelot, Record Town, Coconuts Music & Movies and Strawberries. "By offering DataPlay products through our retail stores, we are continuing to satisfy our customers' demand for the most advanced entertainment choices."

DataPlay's strategy to penetrate the market quickly and effectively is built upon numerous strategic partnerships for developing devices and providing content for use with the DataPlay digital media. Leading consumer electronic developers, such as Toshiba Corporation, Samsung Electronics, Olympus, Creative Labs and SonicBlue are developing portable music players/recorders, digital cameras, PC peripherals, PDAs and portable games that will support the DataPlay format. As a result of these strategic relationships, DataPlay will extend its reach to hundreds of thousands of potential consumers when the product goes to market this fall. In addition, Universal Music Group, EMI Recorded Music, BMG Entertainment and Rosetta Books are currently planning to release pre-recorded music and e-book content on DataPlay digital media for use in multiple consumer electronic devices.

DataPlay anticipates digital media containing pre-recorded content to be available by Q4 2001, coinciding with the availability of DataPlay-enabled consumer electronic devices and blank media.

"There's a tremendous amount of excitement and momentum surrounding DataPlay's technologies and products, and we're moving to capitalize on that enthusiasm by assembling strong investors and partners," said Steve Volk, chairman and CEO of DataPlay.

In January of this year, DataPlay won the Best of Show Award for Mobile Devices and Best Overall Lifestyle Product at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, an event that has built a reputation for being the preeminent venue for the industry's most promising companies and products. DataPlay was recognized for its value, usability, inventiveness and design. DataPlay also received the CES Innovations 2001 award in the Blank Media category at the show in recognition of its innovative consumer electronics product.

About DataPlay, Inc.
DataPlay, Inc. was incorporated in November 1998 to develop a Web-enabled digital content recording and distribution media for portable Internet appliances and hand-held consumer entertainment devices. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, the Company employs more than 175 people in the United States, Singapore and Japan. Visit DataPlay on the Internet at www.dataplay.com.

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