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Software A Value Add For Memory Makers

New York — Flash-memory makers are attempting to collectively steer the category away from the commodity trap by bundling or preloading software onto their USB drives and memory cards.

Kingston unveiled an addition to its DataTraveler lineup of USB flash drives that incorporates H&R Block’s TaxCut software, today.

The 256MB drive carries a $39.95 suggested retail after a $10 mail-in rebate.

The software can be loaded onto PCs from the drive.

Lexar Media said select CompactFlash (CF), SD and Memory Stick (MS) in its pro, platinum and value lines will be bundled with imaging software from Corel, including Paint Shop Pro 9, Photo Album Standard and Starter editions.

The pro cards get Paint Shop Pro 9. The company will incorporate Paint Shop Pro 9 in all of its Professional flash-memory cards; platinum cards will bundle Paint Shop Photo Album 6 (Standard Edition); and value-line customers receive the starter edition of Paint Shop Photo Album 6.

Lexar also unveiled at International CES its answer to U3-enabled USB flash drives. Future JumpDrive products will incorporate PowerToGo which will enable users to install and run most standard Windows applications from their Lexar JumpDrive without leaving files on a host PC.

PowerToGo-enabled drives can run applications and carry browser favorites, personal profiles, Web-surfing preferences and instant messaging software. Lexar will begin shipping its first PowerToGo in the Spring of 2006 and will make it available via download to its installed customer base.

Finally the company announced 133x speed-rated SD and CF cards in its Professional line. The cards feature a minimum sustained write speed of 20MBps. The CF cards will be available in 1GB, 2GB and 4GB capacities for an estimated $129.99, $249.99 and $549.99, respectively. A 1GB SD card will sell for an estimated $129.99, while a 2GB card bundled with a USB.20 card reader will be available for $249.99.