Comdex Fall, Las Vegas: Iomega takes on Flash with tiny 20Mb disk

Martin Veitch live from Comdex, Las Vegas

Not content with wreaking havoc in the removable cartridge and tape markets, Iomega is gearing up to take on Flash memory vendors with the release of a 20Mb capacity 2-inch disk aimed at makers of handhelds, digital cameras and other mobile devices.

Called n.hand, the product is being demonstrated at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas this week but will not ship until the second half of 1997, the firm said. Iomega expects volume availability of devices with n.hand by Christmas next year.

n.hand's chief advantage over Flash is cost. At about $10 per disk, the technology has the capacity to shift the market away from the still pricey Flash, and small format implementations of Flash such as Miniature Card and CompactFlash. Flash costs from $20 per megabyte and pricing has fallen more slowly than most analysts predicted. Iomega said future versions of Zip drives could also accommodate n.hand disks.

However, Iomega is unlikely to have things all its own way. Also at Comdex, Mitsubishi showed an even smaller 1.44Mb device it calls Flopico, just 1.7-inch and designed to fit into ubiquitous Type II PC Card slots on mobile devices. Mitsubishi expects to ship the product early next year.

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