Iomega sets sights on consumer electronics

Iomega is extending its data storage solutions beyond the PC, announcing a raft of new digital storage products aimed at more mobile devices, as well as its traditional market.

The company has set its sights on the consumer electronic market, announcing its HipZip MP3 audio player, a handheld device which uses Clik! technology to store files. Iomega has partnered with audio software developer Interactive Objects to develop the HipZip's operating system.

Iomega's country director Australia/ New Zealand, Peter Dawson, said the 40MB Clik! disks would retail for around $20 compared to $290 for similar-sized flash memory expansion cards. Pricing for the player has yet to be finalised, but the company plans to ship the product in Q4 this year. The RaveMP 2300, the first Clik! player from Sensory Science Corporation, will also begin shipping in Q4.

Iomega is pushing to become the standard storage solution option for the Internet Appliance (IA) market, and is also looking at storage solutions in the video game console market.

"The appliances need some form of removable storage and we want manufacturers to build in support for our Iomega drives," Dawson said.

"We believe Iomega is strategically positioned to play a significant role in consumers' digital lives."

With IAs touted as the next emerging market, Iomega hopes to get in on the ground level with storage solutions for MP3 players, e-books, PDAs and digital cameras.

The company also unveiled a new 100MB USB Zip drive as an entry-level storage device for IAs and announced it was working with Neon Technology to provide storage for Neon's Internet set-top boxes.

Through an agreement with Internet storage company SkyDesk, Iomega is developing software that allows users to store and transfer data to an online storage location. The company has yet to announce when the service will go live.

Dawson said the company had signed a deal with Red Hat to develop Linux support for its Iomega drives in future versions of IomegaWare software. Users can download a beta version of the Linux platform software driver at

Shipments of Iomega's MegaTwins bundle, comprising of a Zip 100MB ATAPI Drive and Zip CD 8 x 4 x 2 CDRW drive are also available this week. The bundle costs $505 - $170 less than if the drives and media were purchased separately.

The company also previewed FotoShow, a digital image storage centre that creates a digital slide show for users.

"The digital camera market is experiencing incredible growth and this trend is expected to continue over the next several years, making storage and management of images a primary focus to a wide range of consumers," Dawson said.

"We believe this product will open up a whole new market - from schools and universities to the home."