Portable Storage; Hard Drives, CD/DVD Burners, And Flash Drives

On the road, it's not always about transferring picture files to a portable device. Many of us take our laptop computers with us, transferring pictures directly to the computer, often for immediate previews while shooting on assignment. And what folly that is without some means of backing up those pictures from the laptop to an external device! CMS Products had an ultra-compact solution at hand in the ABSmini, a 1.8", ultra-portable data back-up system, offered with 40, 60, or 80GB capacity, with data back-up/recovery software.

ABSmini

Digital Foci came on the photo scene with several products. Picture Porter Elite offers a large 3.6" screen and built-in card reader ($599/80GB); Picture Porter, with its smaller screen, also supports multiple memory cards ($359/20GB); and Media Buddy is the vanilla version, sans color playback functions ($299/80GB). Each supports multiple file formats, and while all function as MP3 players, the color models come in handy for video playback as well. Now if you only want to back up data from your computer, then the DataPocket (capacity from 30-80GB, $129-$209) is your cost-effective, portable solution.

Picture Porter

Media Buddy

Epson has upgraded their multimedia storage viewer, which now carries the moniker, the Epson P-4000, increasing storage to 80GB ($699). The device boasts a large 3.8" LCD with Epson Photo Fine technology for enhanced color, detail, and clarity. The P-4000 can store over 75,000 images, over 25,000 songs, or about 90-300 hours of video. It supports JPEG and raw files (on select digital SLR cameras), MPEG-4 and Motion JPEG video files, and MP3 and AAC audio files.

Epson P-4000

EZPnP Technologies revealed a prototype of their latest portable storage device, the DM180 Plus. This device is entering the marketplace as we speak, in 20, 40, 60, and 80GB models. It features a one-touch copy from flash memory cards (supports all popular cards), with playback of photos and videos on a 2" screen. It's also usable as an MP3 player. Powered by a replaceable lithium ion battery it supports USB 2.0 OTG. Priced at $399 for the 40GB model.

EZPnP DM180

Media Street showed the eMotion DF-PMPS Personal Media Player & Storage device. This device has a 20GB drive and a 10-in-1 card reader, and also serves as an MP3 player ($379).

JOBO AG (formerly JOBO Fototechnic) debuted the GIGA Vu PRO evolution in capacities ranging from 40GB ($495) to a whopping 120GB ($895). It features a nearly 4" display that is said to be three times brighter than its nearest competitor. The device is WiFi compatible, and supports OTG direct USB connection, real raw file decoding for all major brands, dust detection, and, to really prove its mettle as a road warrior, a floating hard drive to resist impact and shock. With direct support for CompactFlash/Microdrive (other cards with adapter), it will download a 1GB card in less than 2 minutes. It also plays MP3 music and MPEG movie files.

JOBO GIGA Vu PRO

The new San Ho HYPERDRIVE mini was introduced by the Brandess-Kalt-Aetna Group. The HYPERDRIVE mini offers data transfer speeds up to 16MB/sec, allowing a backup of a 1GB card in under 2 minutes, and accepts eight different types of memory cards. The battery will hold a charge sufficient to transfer more than 30GB. The device is also an MP3/WMA player, and features a blue backlit matrix screen. It employs a user-replaceable 1.8" IDE hard disk ($199/20GB version; $249/40GB).

San Ho Hyperdrive

SmartDisk introduced the PhotoBank, a USB photo storage device ($179). PhotoBank has 40GB of storage capacity, and can hold over 40,000 photos (at 800KB file size). The LCD status indicator and the single key enable quick one-step transfer.

SmartDisk PhotoBank

Wolverine Data introduced the Wolverine MVP (Movie/Video/Photo). Each Wolverine MVP features a 7-in-1 card reader built-in for file transfers, with a choice of internal 60, 100, or massive 120GB drive, at $399, $499, $599, respectively. You can view up to 40 different raw files, as well as JPEG. It is also a complete music player, for MP3 and other audio formats (up to eight hours), and it plays movies (up to three hours). The MVP employs a 2.5" drive, which is user-swappable. The lithium ion rechargeable battery can be swapped out with readily available replacements.

Wolverine MVP

USB Flash Drives
Some companies want their flash drives to be tough as nails, among them ATP Electronics, so it's no surprise to see the ToughDrive banging down the door in the battle for flash card iron man. This device offers a 200x (30MB/sec) data transfer rate, but on the outside, a hardened rubber housing contributes to shock and water resistance. And it supports password protection.

Dane-Elec Memory announced their presence at the show with a host of memory-related products. In pen drives, they offer the zMate USB 2.0 and 1.1 compatible portable devices, with capacities from 256MB to 2GB.

Kingston Technology promoted their new ultra-secure DataTraveler Elite Privacy Edition, available in storage sizes from 256MB to 4GB, along with the U3 DataTraveler with Smart Drive USB, which runs selected software applications without a computer, in 512MB to 1GB capacities.

Lexar Media announced plans to incorporate PowerToGo into its line of JumpDrive products, empowering these USB flash drives with the ability to run most standard Windows applications. In new flash drives, Lexar introduced JumpDrive Mercury, with a storage gauge that lets you know remaining capacity, in 1GB and 2GB versions. Also new is the ultra-compact JumpDrive Firefly, in 256MB, 512MB, and 1GB capacities. Finally, Lexar enhanced their premium flash drive, JumpDrive Lightning, with 150x write speed. It will be available in a new 4GB capacity version.

Lexar JumpDrive

Lexar JumpDrive Mercury

Patriot Memory offered a flash drive that was a bit unusual. The Secure Digital Kit consists of a card reader that on the surface looks like a flash drive and a Secure Digital card that plugs into the reader/drive, which makes the device's storage capacity dependent on the resident memory card. Sold in capacities of 256MB, 512MB, and 1GB, and without the card as well. This company also introduced 4GB and 8GB Patriot X-Porter Xtreme flash drives.

Secure Digital USB Card

All-Terrain Attaché

PNY Technologies brought to our attention several new products, beginning with the Secure Digital USB card, a Secure Digital card that's also a flash drive with the removal of a cap and direct insertion into a USB port, with capacity from 256-512MB, starting at $39. We can't say their "standard" USB flash drives are typical either. The Maxfile Attaché USB 2.0 ($179) stores 8GB and comes with a built-in extension cord. Even more interesting is the Evolution Attaché, which is a combo flash drive and multi-card reader (starting at $29/128MB). While others claim their flash drives can withstand water, the All-Terrain Attaché is designed out of the box to be shock-, water-, dust-, and UV-resistant, with a rubberized housing ($44/512MB; $99/2GB). Finally, boasting a capless swing-design housing, with capacity to 2GB, is the Mini Attaché ($25/256MB).

In the battle to bring out the heavy armor, SanDisk would not be outdone, introducing the Cruzer Titanium, in 1GB and 2GB capacities. This flash drive was designed to withstand adverse conditions, owing to a crush-resistant casing. The retractable USB port eliminates the need for caps. The Cruzer Titanium boasts read/write speeds up to 15MB/sec. The Cruzer Micro, as the name implies, is an ultra-compact alternative--not that flash drives are big to begin with, with capacities ranging from 512MB to 4GB, featuring a retractable USB port. Moreover, U3 makes both drives the equivalent of a handheld computer, letting you run certain programs and data on each device. As an alternative, the new 2GB Ultra II Secure Digital Plus card doubles as a flash drive, with a hidden connector that allows it to be plugged directly into a high-speed USB port.

SanDisk Cruzer Titanium

Scratch-Resistant Archival Media
Typical CD- and DVD-recordable media have a short life, of 2-15 years, according to one industry source. While we may argue with the numbers, it is a fact of life, and backing up to CD or DVD does not guarantee your data will be there forever. As Steve Mizelle, president of KMP Media, explained it: "The silver reflective layer eventually tarnishes through exposure to light, oxygen, heat, humidity, and rough handling." New gold discs offer a 24-karat gold reflective layer that does not oxidize or tarnish. Moreover, a phthalocyanine dye ensures stability. Other protective layers, in particular, a scratch-resistant layer, prevent degradation and loss of data for a very long time. Two companies promoted their scratch-resistant, gold discs at PMA this year. Obviously, KMP Media is one, having introduced the Kodak Preservation CD-R and Preservation DVD-R. Delkin Devices was the other, adding Scratch Armor to their Archival Gold CD-R and DVD-R media. To date, the technology cannot be applied to rewritable disc media, which was never intended for archival storage to begin with.

Photo Frames
These days it's not enough that your family photos and prize shots are prominently displayed on the coffee table in your living room. So, naturally, we have photo frames designed for just this purpose. Now our pictures have become slide shows, which maybe even talk to you. And these devices also function as a video player. Because they don't require an internal hard drive, these playback devices sport larger color LCD screens and cost less than portable storage devices with color displays, though cards and file formats may be more limited to the popular varieties (for example, reading only JPEG in stills). Usually, it just takes plugging the memory card into the device, and voilà, let the entertainment begin!

Digital Foci Image Moments

Media Street eMotion

Three companies put us in the proper frame of mind to view our pictures. Digital Foci displayed the Image Moments 8" VGA photo frame ($249), with larger sizes to come. It comes with a remote control and plays JPEG, MP3, and MPEG movies. Media Street displayed their wares privately, off the showroom floor, focusing attention on their eMotion-branded products. The eMotion 7" MultiMedia DVD Player is a digital frame that reads multiple memory cards and plays DVDs and MP3 files ($349); the eMotion Digital Photo Frame sports a more modest 3.5" screen for slide shows from Secure Digital, MultiMediaCard, and CompactFlash ($119). Less digital and more analog is the eMotion Talking Picture Frame, a traditional picture frame with audio playback for recorded greetings ($10.99). Pacific Digital showcased several photo frames, each supporting multiple card formats: NuVue (5.6" screen), MemoryFrame (8x10" screen), and the MemoryVue MV800 (also a video and MP3 player, with 8" display).

Manufacturers/Distributors' addresses can be found on page 174.

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