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Iomega bombards PC Expo with announcements; enters the consumer electronics market

Kevin Komiega

Drive and disk manufacturer Iomega Corp., of Roy, Utah, unleashed a slew of product and storage solution announcements at New York's PC Expo Tuesday. The products span the spectrum of the consumer electronics market, from digital audio to data protection.

At the bustling Jacob Javits Convention Center, Iomega launched its new commercial software product, Iomega Quik Sync 2, which automatically saves designated files from local and network drives. The Quik Sync 2 software automates file management, preventing data loss due to system failure or viruses. Quik Sync 2 software is available for download from Iomega for $19.95. It will also be available at retailers and distributors in the fall.

Iomega announced availability of its new internal Zip 250MB 'bay tray' drive as an option for the new line of ThinkPads by IBM Corp. and Dell Computer Corp.'s Latitude and Inspirion notebooks. In addition, VST Technologies Inc., has included Iomega's new Zip 250MB drive in the latest Macintosh PowerBook products.

Iomega also introduced a new external Zip 100MB USB drive, an entry-level primary storage device for Internet appliances and gaming consoles, many of which have no external storage capability. The Zip 100MB USB can also be used as a traditional data storage peripheral on PCs running Windows 95/98, 2000, Millenium Edition, NT 4.0, or Macintosh computers running Mac OS 8.5.1-9.x. The new external Zip 100MB USB drive is expected to begin shipping in the fourth

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quarter of this year.

Through a new agreement with San Diego, Calif.-based Internet storage solutions provider SkyDesk Inc., Iomega will develop software that enables users to store, access, transfer and save data and other information to either an Iomega drive or an online storage location, creating an ASP that allows customers global data access. Iomega expects to sell this service to consumers and commercial customers in the fall of this year.

The first Clik!-based MP3 audio player, the RaveMP 2300, is aimed at giving portable MP3 enthusiasts access to an affordable digital storage medium. The RaveMP 2300, co-developed by Iomega and Sensory Science Corp. in Scottsdale, Ariz., will begin shipping next month. The Iomega Clik! disks are available at a price of $9.99 each when purchased in a package of 10. Each, round two-inch Clik! disk holds 40M bytes of digital data, which equates to approximately 40 minutes of music, or 12 songs.

Also on the MP3 front, Microsoft's new Windows Media Player is now compatible with the more than 35 million Iomega drives in the marketplace today, facilitating secure downloads of digital rights management enabled content. Iomega expects to make additional announcements related to these fields later this year.

"One of the barriers to MP3 players becoming more widely accepted by mainstream consumers has been the high cost of removable flash storage with 32M byte cards priced at approximately $100," said Mark Lucas, executive vice president of global marketing and product management at Iomega. "Additional Clik!-enabled MP3 players are planned for later this year, including one of our own."

Wrapping up Iomega's storage related announcements, the vendor announced plans to provide Linux support for the company's popular Zip, Jaz and Clik! drives in its next version of IomegaWare, which is due to ship later this year. Also slated for the near future are plans for the next generation of Iomega's external ZipCD CD-RW drive, with a smaller form factor and sleeker design. Available later this year, the drive will have USB and FireWire connectivity as well as PC and Mac compatibility.

Iomega says it is moving from a removable media focus into the realm of data sharing and information management. Bruce Albertson, president and CEO at Iomega said, "We believe Iomega is strategically positioned to play an even more significant role in consumers' digital lives, from the office to the living room to the playground and beyond. The products and solutions we announced today are evidence that Iomega is committed to expanding into these new markets."


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