Iomega Branches Out with iPhone Backup, 'Personal Cloud,' Boxee TV

EMC's consumer division releases Web-enabled updates to its network storage drives, a new iPhone/iPod Touch dock and a pair of television-connected machines that run Boxee software.

EMC Iomega didn't waste a minute at the outset of this new year in branching out into new territory.
At the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the San Diego-based consumer division of EMC unveiled several new products Jan. 4: Web-enabled updates to its network storage drives to provide what it calls a "personal" cloud, a new iPhone/iPod Touch dock, and a pair of television-connected machines that run the popular Boxee software.
First up, the SuperHero iPhone/iPod Touch docking and storage backup station.
"What's happening with the iPhone now is that people are using it as their primary computer," CEO Jonathan Huberman told eWEEK. "They're taking all their pictures, doing e-mail, texting, putting in all their contacts and so on. The problem we're seeing is that, while it's not hard to sync your phone--mainly getting iTunes in sync--the vast majority of the population do that infrequently, if ever.
"Eventually, if they lose the phone, break it, have it stolen or whatever, they may have a small or large nervous breakdown because they've lost all their contacts and all their photos. We're here to save the day with SuperHero," Huberman said.Iomega's 3-by-3-by-1-inch-deep SuperHero ($69.99) charges up iPhones and iPods and backs up contacts and photos automatically to a 4GB SD card (larger-capacity cards also can be used) during the charge-up. Users need to download the accompanying backup software once from the Iomega site, and that's all there is to it.
SuperHero protects only contacts and photos because they are the only file types it can store in Apple's iOS. Users will have to find another way to back up applications, documents, videos and so on.
"The one common denominator with all the iPhone folks? You have to charge your phone every night--the battery lasts almost a day," Huberman said. "It's pretty simple, straightforward--and a huge market opportunity for us. It's not the most high-tech thing we've done, but it's among the most universal."
Creating a 'personal cloud'
A lot of people still aren't convinced that storing everything in a conventional cloud service is completely safe and reassuring. So Iomega has unveiled a new network-attached drive for home networks called Home Media Network Hard Drive Cloud Edition. The device comes in either 1TB (for $160) or 2TB ($200) versions.
A new free service called Personal Cloud, which provides access to all data stored on the drive via the Web, comes with it. Personal Cloud enables users to access their files via a browser, share it with other folks or sync it among other Personal Cloud-connected storage drives.
Thus, all files in a user's network are, in fact, located in physical drives within the network.
Lastly, Iomega is going into the Web-based television business. Its new Iomega TV with Boxee set-top device ($300 for 1TB storage) runs the popular Boxee multimedia organization software package using a high-end Atom processor. The 2TB version costs $350.
Personal Cloud is also designed to work with Iomega's new TV devices. Huberman said the company will include the Personal Cloud feature in future versions of its other storage products, including its frontline StorCenter systems, later this year.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...