Leading the scrap is ten-month-old OR Technology, an amalgam of Optics Research and Insite Peripherals, two key developers of the LS-120 format. The LS-120 is already being shipped with some Compaq PC configurations, and 3M's Imation spin-off and Matsushita divison MKE are among those building products based on the specification.
California-based OR recently set up a UK subsidiary and says it plans to make the LS-120 a natural replacement for the 1.44Mb floppy drive. A distribution deal with Surrey-based Ideal Hardware for OR's implementation of the LS-120 - called the a:drive - has just been completed.
As well as desktops, OR sees the product as ideal for integrating into mobile PCs. "The LS-120 has the form factor and power requirements that have been completely overlooked by our competitors," said Mike Dalton, director of corporate communications, in a remark clearly targeted at Iomega, which has been promising a portable-oriented Zip for some time. "As far as we're concerned, the biggest competition comes form the legacy floppy. Software distribution will continue to require floppy compatibility and Iomega has decided it can live without that."
Dalton expects supplies of the LS-120 to be constrained this year but predicts huge sales for next year when manufacturing steps up, and parallel port and PC Card versions of the drive appear.
OR Technology can be contacted by telephone on 01491-413663.