PMA 08; Digital Storage And Display

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This report covers back-up systems and all sorts of storage devices, beginning with USB flash (thumb/pen) and handheld devices. In terms of backup, there was only one hardware solution worthy of note, plus a related product that uses DVDs. Beyond that, there are the plethora of digital photo frames, making it one of the hottest product categories at this year's show.

Flash Drives, Portable Hard Drives, And Backup
I wish I could say I was wowed by the new products in this category, but the truth is there were few dramatic developments and products reflected incremental improvements, not revolutionary changes. That said, a few products did impress me. And we should not overlook the up-and-coming SSD (Solid State Drive). As capacity increases and price decreases, we will soon see it replacing the typical hard drive in many places. More to come on that later in the year.

ATP EarthDrive

ATP showed the EarthDrive, the world's first bio-recyclable USB flash drive, which is shockproof, waterproof, and dustproof. Supplied with security software, it will be available in 1, 2, 4, and 8GB densities, priced from $19-$99 (MSRP). ATP is also launching "Project: EarthDrive," a program initiated in conjunction with American Forests, whereby a portion of the proceeds will help plant trees. A noble and commendable effort on both fronts.

Delkin Devices ExpressCard SSD

Delkin Devices debuted the ExpressCard Solid State Drive. The SSD is replacing the once ubiquitous CardBus PC card (on newer laptops and desktop computers) as a means of expanding storage capacity quickly and easily in modular fashion. It's faster and less power hungry, and generates less heat than PC cards. While not the highest capacity cards by any stretch of the imagination, the ExpressCard is starting modestly with 4, 8, and 16GB capacities, with higher capacity to come soon.

JOBO Giga Vu extreme

The JOBO Giga Vu extreme replaces the older Giga Vu PRO, and offers one major enhancement. Available in 80, 120, and 160GB versions, this portable hard drive boasts 3.7" VGA true color display, fast downloads (1GB in about 2 minutes) with data verification, built-in memory card slots for CompactFlash I/II and Microdrive, SD/SDHC with integrated adapter (included), JPEG and raw file support, and other features found on the older model. What it adds is compatibility with JOBO's photoGPS system, which JOBO insiders tell me is now a reality (albeit not for another few months). It's also Wi-Fi/WLAN compatible, supports USB via two interfaces, and is powered by a user-replaceable lithium ion battery. Also new this year is the Giga one ultra, a simplified portable drive with capacities reaching 200GB and supporting more types of cards, but without the fancy color display.

Kingston Technology DataTraveler Style

Who said USB drives could only be functional and not stylish? Certainly not Kingston Technology, as they proved with the new DataTraveler Style. Add your own personal touch via a special insert on the drive's case to reflect your personality. The DataTraveler Style comes with six pre-printed labels: bamboo, lace, redhead mosaic, retro, sunflower, and tangerine dream. Kingston created a special web page (www.kingston.com/style) where users can upload their own photo, graphic design, or artwork, as well as view and download more designs and insert text. Once printed, the personalized label slides easily into the clear cover. The drive's capless design adds to its convenience. An easy-to-use thumb-action slider extends and retracts the USB connector. It is available in capacities to 8GB ($111 MSRP). Also new is the DataTraveler HyperX, designed to run on any Windows platform but specifically enhanced for Windows ReadyBoost on Vista-based systems for fast data transfer.

Lexar Crucial SK01

Lexar provided some insight into the direction they were headed in a private meeting off the show floor. Essentially, they reiterated their position on the further development of SSD technology with the Crucial product line. The SSDs will be hot-swappable (you don't have to shut down the computer when swapping them) and available in capacities of 32 and 64GB in an industry standard 2.5" drive enclosure with an industry-leading native SATA 3.0GB/s interface. And if you want to use it as an external drive, Lexar offers the Crucial SK01 External Drive Storage Kit (sold separately). The kit will allow users to enjoy SSD technology installed in their desktop or as a portable storage device via a USB port. The kit includes a 2.5" USB 2.0 external enclosure, 3.5" SATA 3.0GB/s hot-swappable drive bay, and a 5.25" drive bay bracket.

PNY 32GB Attaché USB

The PNY 32GB Attaché USB flash drive was among the more impressive thumb drives to make an appearance. At 32GB it can store a ton of images, songs, videos, and, of course, data. Almost makes you rethink taking that portable storage drive, considering the comparative size and weight--and convenience.

Sanho ColorSpace O
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