Iomega drives USB home with new kit

Iomega drives USB home with new kit

Iomega has added to its universal serial bus (USB) range of peripherals with the announcement of a new Zip 100MB USB drive Starter Kit.

The kit is a range of hardware and software bundled together to provide users with a complete assortment of storage and backup tools. It includes an external Zip 100MB USB drive, USB cable, power supply, welcome packet and three 100MB Zip disks as well as a couple of CD-Roms chock-full of software applications such as Adobe ActiveShare, Iomega QuikSync and a HTML users' manual.

Developed primarily to help consumers back up data, the starter kits will be available in the third quarter this year.

Iomega has been gradually expanding its USB peripherals because of their plug- and-play and hot, swappable capabilities.

"This is really the second generation for us in starter kits," said Peter Atton, Iomega's marketing manager for Australia and New Zealand. "We have released starter kits before which used parallel ports, but with the uptake of USB there was no reason not to extend that to USB kits."Atton said the USB peripheral market was more of a transitional market than a growing market, "although the demand for parallel port products is still very strong".

"USB is becoming increasingly popular. When it was first touted, everyone said it was fantastic, but it has only been recently that it has taken off in a big way. Now, everything includes USB connection, because consumers don't need a great deal of technical expertise to get it up and running. It gives users the opportunity to get in and get cracking right away so it is very popular in the consumer market," said Atton.

With an expected retail price of $269, excluding GST, the kit provides a slight cost saving on buying each of the products individually.

Atton said USB had initially experienced system problems, "particularly when attached in a daisy chain", but these had largely been addressed, further adding to its popularity.

Although a USB port will theoretically support up to 127 attachments, some products are hierarchical. This problem is overcome using USB hubs.

Iomega will also release a SCSI-USB adapter next month, aimed at recapturing the Jaz drive's popularity within the Apple market, Atton said.

"We saw the popularity of USB and that is why most of our products have USB solutions, even our Jaz drives."

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