Palm Drives, Photo Wallets, And CD/DVD Burners

Small is big--at least among PSDs (Portable Storage Devices). That can be the defining motif for the strong emergence at this year's PMA of smaller and smaller digital portable storage devices with higher and higher capacities and enhanced feature sets. These devices cropped up at every turn, never failing to grab my attention.

They include hard drives that fit in the palm of your hand, photo wallets with their own color monitors for viewing slide shows and video clips, and CD/DVD reader/writers--all battery-driven. Select devices even come with a built-in MP3 player. By and large, these devices can also be used as a peripheral drive for your computer, whether laptop or desktop.

Briefly, these 21st century gadgets allow you to download files from your computer, serving as back-up storage. But more importantly, they let you download memory cards (or internal memory) from your digital camera on the fly, anywhere, provided the built-in rechargeable battery holds up (it's usually good for several downloads, depending on the battery capacity and size of files).

Delkin showcased the DVD version of the Portable BurnAway. Since each DVD can store up to 4.7GB of data, that gives you considerable storage capacity on the road. The DVD BurnAway also works as a memory card reader, a digital slide show player (when connected to a TV), and a DVD/MP3/CD player. The DVD BurnAway ($399) comes with a protective carrying case, remote control, rechargeable li ion battery, power cord (100-240v), USB 2.0 cable, and S-Video and RCA cables for connecting to a TV or projector.

While still in search of a distributor, Singapore-based EastGear debuted the CompactDrive MD series--PSDs with
user-replaceable 20/40GB 1.8" storage drives. Effective transfer rate is 10.5MB/sec. The model MD70 can back up more than 40GB of photos on a single charge of the built-in battery. Model MD90 has a removable battery. These PSDs support USB 2.0, and come with a built-in card reader.

True to its name, the EZDigiMagic DM180 Palm-Sized Portable Backup Device, from EZPnP, comes in 20GB ($349) and 40GB ($429) versions, utilizing a 1.8" form factor drive. Weighing in at about 8 oz, this device supports CompactFlash, Microdrive, Secure Digital/MultiMediaCard, and Memory Stick/Memory Stick Pro. Powered by a rechargeable li ion battery (for 60 minutes of copy time), it features a large backlight display and USB 2.0 interface (for connection to PC/Mac). It also comes with a universal AC adapter. EZPnP also showed off the EZDigiMagic DM220-08 ($399), which downloads flash memory cards to DVD. It's powered by four Ni-MH batteries, and supports USB 2.0.