Pioneer has introduced the BDR-205, the world's first 12x Blu-ray writer for single and dual-layer media. With a burn rate of 12x, Pioneer's new drive provides a slight boost over the 8x most current units offer. In addition to the quicker write times, Pioneer claims to have designed the BDR-205 with a low-vibration apparatus, which improves write accuracy over the presently available drives.

The BDR-205 comes at a time when much attention is on the market. In late August, research firm iSuppli released a study that suggested widespread Blu-ray-equipped PCs are a long way off. The outfit estimated that by 2013 Blu-ray drives will be present in 16.3% of shipped PCs -- versus 3.6% this year. Other analysts foresee a surge of Blu-ray drives in notebooks by next year, though, as prices decline.


Pioneer's BDR-205 will begin shipping this month, and the retail version, the BDR-2205, will be available in the first quarter of next year for $249.