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New USB Drives Stress Size And Speed

Iomega and Lexar joined the growing ranks of companies offering USB flash memory drives at Comdex in November.

Iomega introduced the Mini Drive line, which initially consists of devices with 64MB and 128MB of capacity. A company spokesman said Mini Drive will be available at Fry’s Electronics and Micro Center in December, with general retail distribution expected during the first quarter of 2003.

The drives will have respective suggested retail prices of $64 and $99. A 256MB version is expected next year.

Iomega ships the drive with a proprietary graphic user interface and a security interface features password protection for the stored data. Consumers can also purchase and download from the company Web site Iomega Active Disk applications for use on the Mini Drives.

Lexar’s contribution to the category is the JumpDrive 2.0 Pro. This is the first USB 2.0 drive to ship. Its download speed is about six times faster than current USB 1.1 drives on the market.

Limitations in USB drive technology do not allow USB 2.0 drives to take full advantage of that format’s true data download capability, which is about 40 times faster than the older version.

Lexar is shipping one 256MB SKU with a $199 suggested retail price.