Iomega dishes out zippy drive

Iomega has added a new 750MB capacity drive to its family of Zip products, tripling the capacity of its predecessor and in the process claiming faster speeds than current CD-RW devices.

The new Zip 750MB product is backwards-compatible with both the 250MB (read and write) and the 100MB (read only) drives and boasts 50x50x50x write/rewrite/read speeds (or 8MBps). This is faster than current external CD-RW drives, which have write/rewrite/read speeds of 40x12x40x.

Iomega senior manager, Australia and New Zealand, Scott Dillon is quick to point out, however, that Zip and CD-RW technologies shouldn't be set against each other. Speaking at the product launch in Sydney on 27 August, Dillon argued there is a market for both types of storage, which makes the two complementary rather than competing technologies.

According to research from the Stevenson Company during 2001, 34.8 per cent of zip drive owners use the media for moving data between two different locations, while 30.8 per cent use Zip discs to back up key files. In comparison, 35.2 per cent of CDRW users primarily use their drive for making multiple copies of data, 33.5 per cent for recording or storing music and 32.1 per cent for storing digital photos.

Alongside its higher data capacity, the 750MB Zip drive now supports dual PC and Mac formats, allowing users to buy one Zip disc for both types of computers. The new Zip product is USB 2.0 compatible, and FireWire and ATAPI versions are to be released in November.

The 750MB drive is also bundled with Iomega's new bi-directional Iomega Sync software for PC, which replaces the original QuikSync software for synchronising files between PCs, and the company's Automatic Backup software.

The 750MB Zip drive sells for $449 and is available now. Discs are available in packs of two ($64) or 10 ($299).

New price points for the older 250MB and 100MB Zip drives will also be announced shortly. The 250MB drive, which currently retails for $369, is expected to drop to $300, and the 100MB drive should go below the $200 mark, Dillon said.

While not disclosing the details of its future plans, the next step up from the 750MB will see a multi-gigabyte storage drive based on a different form factor to that currently used in the Zip drive, Iomega's Peter Atton said.

In the meantime, Iomega will also be releasing new 80GB and 120GB external hard drive products into stores on 15 September.

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