RealTime IT News

CES Brings Out Storage Drive Vendors

The 2004 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is playing host to a litany of products geared for the media-savvy customer and storage drive device makers Hitachi, Western Digital and Lexar Media lined up to introduce their latest wares.

As demand for digital cameras, MP3 players, handheld computers and smartphones grows, so does the need for external storage drives to house that content.

In response, hard disk drive manufacturers must work fervently to develop speedy, compact drives that store whole libraries, or risk being left behind.

Western Digital earlier this week introduced unveiled its new Media Center storage peripheral and USB 2.0/FireWire hard drive at CES in Las Vegas. The company is looking to be the storage hub for consumers hungry for digital audio, video and photo files.

The Media Center combines a 250 gigabyte WD Caviar SE hard drive, an 8-in-1 memory card reader, USB 2.0 hub and the company's dual-option backup system, allowing consumers to download and store files from a number of drives and/or PCs and notebooks.

Both the Media Center and USB 2.0 drives will be offered capacities of 120, 160, 200 and 250 GB. The price for the Media Center is $399 (250 GB), while the price for USB 2.0/FireWire hard drives with Dual-option Backup (250 GB) is $349.

Meanwhile, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies introduced Travelstar C4K40, a slim, 1.8-inch hard disk drive, compatible with the Portable Media Center devices.

These are select gadgets based on the Microsoft Windows CE and the Intel Portable Media Player hardware design, allowing users to move digital movies, TV shows, music and pictures from their PC to handheld computers and digital cameras.

Hitachi said in a statement that people using Portable Media Centers in combination with Travelstar C4K40 can watch up to 175 hours of video, store 100,000 photos or listen to a library of 10,000 songs.

"We believe the growth of portable media devices, in large part, is governed by how easily people can take their digital media with them and by the availability of affordable, reliable storage in compact form," said Scott Horn, director of marketing, Microsoft Embedded Devices Group, in a statement.

Not to be outdone, Lexar Media released a number of USB flash drives, including the JumpDrive Sport and JumpDrive Elite. Both feature USB 2.0, for high-speed file transfers and capacities of 128MB, 256MB and 512MB. Pricing is based on those storage levels: $49.99, $79.99 and $159.99, respectively.

Here is where they differ: Geared for students, JumpDrive Sport features a rubber cap that wraps around the entire flash drive, making it more impact-resistant and ready to be attached to a key chain or backpack for travel.

Conversely, JumpDrive Elite for business executives features a pearl white shell and a snap-on cap that is able to attach to both ends of the drive to prevent its misplacement during use.

JumpDrive Traveler, a new USB 2.0 flash drive that stores URL histories and cookies onto the USB flash drive, and erases them from the hard drive of the host computer when the user exits the program -- a key feature at a time when security is a major concern for customers storing files on their PCs.

The device will be available in late January in 128MB and 256MB capacities with for $59.99 and $89.99, respectively. A 512MB JumpDrive Traveler will ship in February for $179.99.

Lastly, Lexar said it has doubled the capacity of its JumpDrive 2.0 Pro USB flash drive to 2 GB, which can transfer 2GB of music or data in less than six minutes. The juiced up gadget will ship nationwide in February for $999.99.