While ASUS is busy stuffing DVD burners into Eee PCs, Pioneer and others are working hard to make the integrated optical drive a thing of the past. The freshly announced XD09 measures in at 5.24 x 0.58 x 5.24-inches and 8 ounces, or slightly beefier than your average CD case. Pioneer claims that it's the most compact drive design yet. Essentially this means if you can carry your optical media around with you, then you can carry the player for it too. Power comes via the USB 2.0 connection, and all the usual DVD plus, minus, reading, writing, dual-layer mumbo jumbo is retained with top writing speeds of 8x on single-layer and 6x on double-layer media. This inspired minimalism can be yours for $79.99 in August.

[Via Hot Hardware]