Sharp will be introducing a higher-power blue-violet laser soon, intended for use in Blu-ray and HD DVD drives. The greater output power of the laser will enable it to read discs spinning at a faster rate, bringing speeds as fast as 6x, making them the (current) fastest opticals on the market. 2x and 4x are the most common now, though even the first gen drive burners and readers are still selling for quite a bit, especially Blu-ray. Sharp expects to begin volume production this summer.

A bit of bad news comes in with that, however, as nobody is expecting a price drop on older models when faster whens hit the shelves. The laser unit itself will initially run $423, so expect to see the first retail 6x units to be above that.