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Imation Introduces DataPlay HW, Blank Media

Imation displayed its first three DataPlay hardware devices along with blank media that will be ready to ship when DataPlay officially launches the new removable memory this fall.

The Imation products are the DiscGO portable DataPlay/flash memory reader and two DataPlay readers for the PC. Imation program manager Kent Schoenherr said final pricing has not been set for the PC drives but expected them to fall into the $200 price range.

The DiscGO, part of the three-unit GO family of products, is a stand-alone device that accepts DataPlay discs in one end and flash memory cards in the other side. Schoenherr said DiscGO gives consumers the ability to download data from their small capacity flash cards onto the 500MB DataPlay discs without the need for a PC. The DiscGO can then connect to a PC through the USB port, where it acts as a DataPlay card reader. The other two readers expected to ship at the same time must be connected to a PC.

The DataPlay media will be available in one, three and five packs, with prices ranging from between $5 and $12 per disc depending upon the quantity purchased. Like Imation’s CD blank media, the DataPlay discs will come in a variety of colors, said Schoenherr. To make displaying the media simple for retailers, the blank DataPlay discs are packaged in CD jewel cases.

Imation is placing a great deal of effort in preparing for DataPlay’s launch. The company, which has invested in the Boulder, Colo., DataPlay Corp., is starting to educate consumers about the format by conducting a series of marketing events centered on concerts.

DataPlay is expected to announce additional OEM and licensees later this month. Those most likely to be tapped to produce hardware and media are other corporations that have placed a financial stake in DataPlay, the company has said. Some of these are Kodak, Toshiba, Samsung and S3.

Schoenherr did not think the $200 price tag would hinder sales. Because the drives can be used to play the pre-recorded music expected to ship on DataPlay, the drives are similar to CD players, he said.

At PC Expo the company also announced the FlashGO USB flash memory card reader that works with all five available flash memory types and IBM’s Microdrive. It will ship in August with a $79 suggested retail price.

The RipGO, the last member of the GO family, is a portable CD-RW burner. The Palm-size RipGO plays 80mm CD-R media that can hold up to six hours of music when the music is compressed using the MP3 format, which is how the RipGO encodes music being recorded, Schoenherr said. The drive also features a memory buffer to eliminate skipping when it is carried about. It will ship in September with a $399 suggested retail price.