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USB Flash Drives Diversify

In an effort to inject novelty into the USB flash-drive market, vendors have packed their drives with value-added software, embraced unique designs and even added LCD displays to reveal digital content stored in the drives without using a PC.

Imation announced a new USB flash drive last week that offers a durable, rubberized casing to protect it against the damage.

The Pivot flash-drive line will consist of drives from 256MB to 4GB, with suggested retails from $32.99 to $239.99. The Pivot drives will include security software with 128-bit AES encryption and password protection. The drives are currently shipping.

The company also announced a new line of durable “Clip” drives which are encased in a rubberized shell and feature a carabineer clip for attaching the drive to pack or purse.

Target will carry a line of the Clip drives in orange and blue this April, while black Clip drives will ship to all Imation dealers. The drives will be available in 256MB, 512MB, 1GB and 2GB capacities for $29.99, $42.99, $70.99 and $119.99, respectively.

Kingston announced the latest version of its DataTraveler USB flash drive with the U3 operating system.

The drives will be preloaded with Pass2Go, ACDSee and Zinio software packages designed to run off of U3-enabled USB drives.

The U3 operating system, developed by SanDisk and M-Systems, allows programs written for U3 drives to run exclusively off of a flash drive without leaving trace files on a host PC. Kingston’s drives will be available in 1GB and 2GB capacities for a suggested $47 and 75, respectively.

Royal Consumer Information Products will launch a line of “EZVue Vista” drives that feature a scrollable two-line window display that lets users view file names on the drive without connecting to a PC. The display shows the file names in their directories and users can scroll to the right for more data on the file, including extension, its size and the date created.

The EZVue Vista drives will be available in 256MB, 512MB and 1GB capacities for a suggested $49.99, $79.99 and $99.99, respectively.