Removable disks reach a 'Peerless' 20Gb

Iomega has big plans for its 20Gb removable storage drive -- including automotive applications

Peerless -- Iomega's latest addition to its range of removable storage products -- allows users to carry up to 20Gb of data on one disk, and its optional FireWire interface will boast a transfer rate of up to 15Mb per second, according to the company.

Iomega launched Peerless on Thursday at the CeBIT show in Hannover. The drive can be fitted with USB 1.1, SCSI or FireWire interfaces, and will take removable 5GB, 10GB or 20GB disk cartridges, allowing professional users to back up entire systems on a single disk. Previously, only tape cartridges, which are comparatively slow, expensive and fragile, offered such capacities in a removable format.

Each Peerless disk cartridge is about the size of a Palm PDA.

Show me a picture from the Peerless range

"Peerless is ideal for a creative user, someone who works with video or design applications," said Peter Wharton, Iomega's European marketing director. "Someone using Autodesk would be able to carry the application and all their work between home and work on one Peerless disk."

Iomega is planning to launch Peerless worldwide in June or July this year. Final pricing hasn't been announced yet, but the company expects to sell the base station for around $250 plus sales tax (around £200 inc VAT). The 5Gb removable Peerless disk will cost around $129 plus sales tax (around £100 inc VAT), while the 20Gb disk will be sold for around $200 plus sales tax (roughly £160 inc VAT).

The company wil offer a discount for customers who buy a Peerless base station and disk together.

"We had to make a trade-off between time and cost, and we decided to get this product out as soon as possible," said an Iomega spokesman at the launch. He said he expected the price to drop. "We're going to be aggressively driving these prices down."

The launch of Peerless will widen Iomega's portfolio of storage products. Today, its largest capacity product is the 2Gb Jaz drive. Iomega is currently in discussion with several software companies about the possibility of selling data-intensive applications installed on Peerless disks. Wharton declined to say which companies Iomega was talking to, but suggested that an AutoCad-type design application was one possibility.

There might also be non-PC uses for Peerless.

"We're also in talks with car manufacturers," Wharton said. "In the US, some people have MP3 players installed, or even DVD players so that the children can watch a film during a trip. Peerless would let you transfer all your digital music files, or a DVD film, between the home and the car."

Earlier this week, Iomega launched its branded version of the IBM Microdrive, and is also marketing a range of Compactflash cards.

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