EMC Iomega had news Oct. 15 that might be a forecast of things to come in the personal storage business--but probably not for a few years.
Iomega started shipping a new, host-powered external 1.8-inch USB 3.0 SSD flash-based storage drive with built-in encryption that could spell the beginning of the end for spinning-disk portable drives on the desktop.
The new SSD-based machines, about the size of an iPhone, will be available in early November in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB capacities, Iomega President Jonathan Huberman told eWEEK. Larger capacities will become available next year, he said.
"These are desktop-supportable," Huberman said. "Imagine them being like a 2.5-inch external hard drive, except that they're smaller, faster with a better drop spec."
A drop spec is the height above the ground that a storage drive can be dropped onto a hard surface and still be expected to operate. Iomega's newest 1TB eGO portable spinning disk drive can be dropped from a height of 7 feet and still be operational; the new SSD drives can be dropped from a height of 10 feet and continue to work, Huberman said.
SSD desktop flash drives are similar to a large thumb drive in some ways. They have no moving parts, fast application loading, and high I/O transfer speeds.
"These don't have as much capacity as hard disk drives [yet], but they are great for transferring high-definition video, digital images, graphics and music," Huberman said. "They're really what professional videographers, photographers and other creative professionals can use for deadlines and temporary digital storage."
Thanks to its SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface, the new SSD flash drive is up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0 drives and is about twice as fast as a 7200 RPM SATA hard drive utilizing the same USB 3.0 interface, Huberman said.
The new SSD drives are not inexpensive. The 64GB unit is priced at $229, the 128GB for $399, and the 256GB for $749. That's why it will take some time for these to replace the much cheaper spinning disk drives on the desktop.
For example, Iomega's 2.5-inch, 1TB eGO drive costs less than $175.
Software available for the Iomega SSD flash drive includes v.Clone, which captures a complete virtual image of a PC including the operating system, all applications, settings, and all files to a separate hard drive; a complementary 1-year subscription to Trend Micro Internet Security for the PC, or Trend Micro Smart Surfing software for Mac; and Iomega QuikProtect, backup software for simple scheduled file-level backup of data to hard drives and network-attached storage devices (for Windows and Mac desktops and notebooks).