Terapin handheld packs a punch in storage

A Singapore-based company has launched a handheld storage device that stores up to 10GB in data and multimedia files, with the possibility of even higher capacities in the future.

SINGAPORE--A Singapore-based company has launched a handheld storage device that stores up to 10GB in data and multimedia files, with the possibility of even higher capacities in the future.

The device, dubbed the Terapin mine, is billed by its makers as a "handheld personal digital data bank". It measures 17.5 cm by 8 cm and is 2.5 cm thick.

It can accept input from a myriad of sources and can output data through several kinds of ports.

Digital camera users can dump pictures into it, or connect it to their laptops and back up their files. It can also function as an MP3 music player. The mine can even be connected to a corporate LAN and used as a mini-file server. A PC card slot allows the use of wireless network adaptors.

The battery-operated device runs a stripped-down version of the open-source operating system, Linux.

Its creators have filed patents in the US and Singapore for the way the software intelligently configures itself to handle data traffic, regardless of the hardware it runs on or the device plugged into it, without user intervention.

Serial System, a Singapore-based components distributor and consumer electronics manufacturer, owns the Terapin brand.

The Terapin mine is designed, developed and manufactured in Singapore, with the software development mostly done in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The Singapore Exchange-listed firm launched the US$599 Terapin mine in the EU, Japan, US and Singapore last Friday. It will go on sale in late August.

Michael Anh Nguyen, vice-president of business development at Serial System, believes that the device fills a much-needed niche, despite the rising number of notebook models costing only a few hundred dollars more.

"The mine is more mobile, switches on instantly, and is easier to use," he said. He added that several institutions in Singapore and the US have indicated interest in equipping their mobile staffers with the mine for tasks in law enforcement and medicine.

Thanks to the choice of Linux, he said, developers will be encouraged to write software for the mine, as they will not have to pay Serial System license fees. He said there are plans to release kits software developers soon.

Terapin mine users can use their devices to synch directly to a Terapin-owned Web locker offering 6MB of storage.

Nguyen sees a wealth of e-services arising from this online link in future.

"You can send your digital images to the online locker, and let us know that you want prints sent to a store near you,'' he said.

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