From paper tape to data sticks: The evolution of removable storage

Over the years, people have tried to transfer information from one computer to another in a dizzying number of ways. Here's a look at some of the best, along with others that time forgot.

A Removable Mess

Following the stunning success of the Zip Drive in the mid- to late 1990s, a raft of competitors and follow-ups emerged, hoping to steal a piece of Zip's pie. Iomega's most prominent competitor was SyQuest, which balkanized and diluted its own market with numerous drives like the SyJet, the SparQ, the EZFlyer, and the EZ135. Another promising (but obscure) competitor was the Castlewood Orb, which stored 2.2GB on a Zip-like disk.

Finally, Iomega itself tried to supplement the Zip with other categories of removable media, from high-capacity removable hard disks (the 1GB and 2GB Jaz Drive) to the miniature 40MB Clik drive. None caught on the way the Zip did.

Photos: SyQuest/Castlewood/Iomega

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