While both formats use blue lasers they record at different distances and widths, a single head that overcomes those differences could make a dual-format player cheaper and a more realistic possibility if licensing fees and agreements don't get in the way. Ricoh certainly doesn't think they will, saying this technology will "make it possible to build players and recorders for all formats which benefits consumers". That's the triple truth, although if this coming technology at all influenced Toshiba's conciliatory remarks recently is unknown.
They see this technology becoming commercially available by the end of this year. It will only be available for playback devices initially, as a higher powered laser is needed for recording. Those of us waiting for a relatively inexpensive solution to the high definition format war will be waiting just a bit longer.