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Lexar Media Is Expanding JumpDrive Line At CES

In an effort to expand the applications for USB flash drives beyond mere memory storage, Lexar Media will debut several new JumpDrive portables at CES that can securely browse the Web, play MP3s and endure the slings and arrows of the outdoor set.

First up is the yet-to-be named (at press time) JumpDrive with MP3 capability. The MP3 player utilizes a JumpDrive Sport USB 2.0 flash drive as the memory source (which has a 512MB maximum capacity).

The MP3-playing JumpDrive also supports the WMA music format, features a three-line LCD display, an equalizer with settings for normal, jazz, pop, rock, and classical music and up to 14 hours of play time.

Beginning in February, the drive will be sold in two configurations: one with a 64MB JumpDrive Sport included for a suggested retail price of $89.99 and another as a stand-alone MP3 accessory with no memory for a suggested retail price of $49.99.

Lexar also announced the JumpDrive Traveler, a USB 2.0 flash drive that enables Internet browsing from any Internet connected computer without leaving any history or session information on the host computer. JumpDrive Traveler allows users to access e-mail accounts utilizing popular e-mail applications (Outlook Express 5.5 and later and Internet Explorer 5.5 and later, additional support planned for future models), while also storing bookmarks and other personalized Web settings. Additionally, the software provides file synchronization to update files from the USB flash drive to the computer.

To enable private and secure Internet browsing, JumpDrive Traveler diverts Internet activities, such as URL histories and cookies, to the USB flash drive instead of the hard drive of the host computer. The Traveler also stores users’ personalized Web settings such as bookmarks, site history and temporary files to provide personalized Web browsing from any computer.

The software on JumpDrive Traveler is password-protected for security and it pops up automatically whenever the drive is inserted into a USB port. It will be available in late January in 128MB and 256MB capacities with expected suggested retail pricing of $59.99 and $79.99, respectively. A 512MB JumpDrive Traveler will ship in February with an estimated suggested retail price of $179.99.

Lexar also doubled the capacity of its standard JumpDrive. The JumpDrive 2.0 Pro will feature a capacity of 2GB along with USB 2.0 connectivity for file transfers at a rate of 6MB per second. The new drive ships in February for a suggested retail price of $999.99.

The company also added two new JumpDrive lines: the JumpDrive Sport and JumpDrive Elite. Both feature USB 2.0 connectivity, capacities of 128MB, 256MB and 512MB and include a writeable area on the back of the drive to record its contents.

JumpDrive Sport features a durable rubber cap that securely wraps around the flash drive making it more impact-resistant. The cap design also allows the flash drive to be secured to a keychain or backpack while the drive itself is removed for use.

JumpDrive Elite is aimed at consumers who favor fashionable flash. The Elite is bedecked in a pearl white shell with a snap-on cap that can attach to both ends of the drive preventing its loss. Elite and Sport drives ship this month for suggested retail prices of $49.99, $79.99, and $169.99, for capacities of 128MB, 256MB and 512MB, respectively.

Finally, Lexar added 256-bit encryption security software and USB 2.0 connectivity to its JumpDrive Secure. The software allows users to designate public and private zones on the drive to store files which allows the primary user to share some, but not all, of the information on the JumpDrive. Formatting of the secure area is only permitted with password access to protect against unauthorized deletion. Since the software resides on the drive, it is portable from one computer to another.

JumpDrive Secure will ship in February in 128MB, 256MB and 512MB capacities. Retail pricing for the product is expected to be $49.99, $79.99 and $159.99, respectively.

Over 5 million USB flash drives were sold in 2003 in the United States, according to the USB Flash Drive Alliance.