Having finally, after 16 years, got the world to sit up and take notice, Iomega Corp is not about to sit back and rest on its laurels. It still hopes that the Zip drive will be as ubiquitous in a couple of years as the 3.5 floppy disk drive is now, but in case everything […]
Having finally, after 16 years, got the world to sit up and take notice, Iomega Corp is not about to sit back and rest on its laurels. It still hopes that the Zip drive will be as ubiquitous in a couple of years as the 3.5 floppy disk drive is now, but in case everything does not go perfectly to plan, it still has another trick or two up its sleeve, and late last week, it previewed a stunning new device with the strange name of n.hand. What the Roy, Utah company has done is to shrink its floppy disk cartridge right down to about 1.5 or 1.8 – Iomega, studiously vague, says about half the size of a business card – at which size it stores 20Mb and the drive can go into all the places where the Flash memory card is so welcome but so pricey. We are talking about hand-held consumer electronics devices here, anything from digital cameras and games machines to cellular phones and Personal Digital Assistants – and if you can’t wait, well you just have to, because the drives won’t be ready to go into products until the second half of next year. Rotating mass storage has long seemed certain to be swept away in time by solid state memory, but that day is regularly postponed as disk designers manage to make their products ever smaller, faster and cheaper, and Iomega reckons that the 20Mb n.hand disks will cost under $10 – an order of magnitude cheaper than Flash memory, where 1Mb costs more than $10. It is also working on plans to make the n.hand disk technology compatible with future versions of its Zip drive. Compatibility is key as far as Iomega is concerned: you’ve taken some fabulous battlefield pictures that you must get back to your paper right now – how to do it? N.hand makes it easy: you take the disk out of your digital camera, slip in into a cellular phone and squirt the contents off to your paper, sending the image straight to the page make-up computer for cropping or otherwise editing. A 20Mb disk will store 50 to 80 images. Iomega shares rose $1.125 to $26.50 was the most active counter on the New York Stock Exchange early Friday as it began its first day of trading on the Big Board.