Running towards a planned commercial launch in August, Fujitsu began sample shipments Thursday of a new disk drive that will support the 2.3GB version of its Magneto Optical rewritable optical disc format. The current highest capacity MO disks and drives support storage of up to 1.3GB of data per disk. The new 2.3GB format, nicknamed GigaMO, was jointly developed by Fujitsu and Sony to extend the life of the MO format, which has been coming under increasing pressure from newer rewritable optical disc formats such as DVD-R and DVD-RW, which have capacities of between 2.6GB and 9.6GB per disc. The new GigaMO drive is backwards compatible with previous generations of MO disk from the 128MB version and has a maximum data transfer speed of 8.3MB per second. The first version of the drive is equipped with an ATAPI interface although Fujitsu said it is planning versions with other interfaces, such as SCSI, for the future. Fujitsu and Sony first unveiled the 2.3G byte format at the CeBIT exhibition in Hanover, Germany, earlier this year.