Imation rolls out paperclip-sized USB flash drive

The 1.5-in. Atom Flash Drive forVista-based systems stores up to 8GB of data

Imation Wednesday unveiled the Atom Flash Drive, a 1.5-in. long portable storage device that is no larger than a paperclip and can store up to 8GB of digital files.

Weighing less than one ounce and measuring a half-inch wide, the Atom Flash Drive is the storage vendor's smallest USB flash drive, it said.

Versions of the tiny USB mobile storage device can store 1GB, 2GB, 4GB and 8GB of data. The drive is currently available at prices ranging from US$18 to $100 based on capacity.

Analysts say that as the prices of USB flash drives drop, the easy-to-use portable storage devices are gaining popularity among mid-size and large corporate customers to store, transport and share digital files among co-workers, business units and partners.

However, they also note that the technology can pose significant security risks if they are lost, stolen or are handled carelessly by employees. For example, a Ponemon Institute survey of 691 IT professionals last December found that only 25 per cent of workers would report a lost USB flash drive, compared to 78 per cent who would likely notify IT departments about a missing laptop.

Imation's Atom Flash Drive provides password protection and drive partitioning capabilities to secure data on the portable device. The tool supports Microsoft Windows Vista and is also compatible with Windows Vista ReadyBoost technology. ReadyBoost enables the USB flash drive to serve as an additional memory cache when used with Windows Vista.

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