Toshiba's $499 HD-A1 HD DVD is "priced to make a profit" according to Toshiba executive Mark Whittard, despite reports from iSuppli that it actually cost around $700 to make. He also sought to clarify statements made by CEO Atsutoshi Nichida recently calling for unification between HD DVD and Blu-ray, and Toshiba's long term strategy for HD DVD. Their plan is to "stitch up" relationships with movie studios to ensure more support for the format, enable third party manufacturers to produce rebadged HD DVD players and increase its exposure in the marketplace. As far as unification? That is "just good business sense", since a format war confuses customers and shrinks the market. He remarks that Blu-ray does have some strong features, but thinks HD DVD matches up comparatively well, especially with support from Intel, Microsoft and HP.

Finally, the launch of the Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on is mentioned, he expects Microsoft will release a version of the console with an internal HD DVD drive and that they will announce their plans to do so "fairly soon". We're not too sure about his statement that most of the studios who originally supported Blu-ray now have a foot in both camps, because Blu-ray still has an advantage there. It's good to see that someone realizes how much sense a unified high-def standard makes, however with the two sides both so firmly entrenched behind their format it's hard to see either one giving in to the other or even agreeing to a compromise anytime soon.

[Update: Cesar from Microsoft's Gamerscore blog has posted that Microsoft has "no plans" to include an HD DVD drive in the 360 and are going forward with the aforementioned add-on, thanks Eli!]

Waterproof meets FOMA: the SO902iWP+