Zip Drives Target Multimedia

NEW YORK (06/28/2000) - Iomega Corp.'s Clik portable storage unit is playing a new tune--literally--by moving into MP3 players from Iomega and at least eight partners.

The compact storage company unveiled its new audio and video technology at PC Expo with several product announcements. Iomega is also developing a Zip drive specifically to store digital images and then display them on a standard television.

Clik's Compact Tunes

The first Clik-powered portable player is expected to ship in July from Sensory Science, priced at US$299. It plays up to 40 minutes of MP3 tunes on replaceable Clik disks, which cost $9.99 each when purchased in a ten-pack.

Iomega will ship its own music player before the end of the year, says Paul Jacobs, Iomega's worldwide director of new products. That unit will come with two Clik drives and will support recording formats other than MP3, including Microsoft Windows Media Audio, Jacobs says.

The drives differ from Iomega's existing general-purpose data drives that read Clik disks, he notes. But you can play the music disks in a standard Clik drive attached to a notebook computer or, via a $49 docking station, a PC that also has a software MP3 player. Clik drives can hold 40MB of data.

"You can store more music on a disk that costs just $10, compared with flash memory cards that can cost $100," Jacobs says.

MP3 players that run Clik drives are also under development by LG International, Rexon Technologies, RFC, Frontier Labs, Addonics, Varo Vision, and OptoMedia.

FotoShow's Image Expertise

FotoShow, Iomega's new digital imaging device, is a version of its Zip 250 drive with an added slot that accepts compact flash or smart media cards. You can insert the competing storage unit, copy its data onto the Zip disk, and then erase and reuse the card in your digital camera. Using the bundled PictureIQ software, you can sort and edit the photos. The program contains basic tools for cropping, rotating images, adding captions and titles, and other simple editing.

The FotoShow Zip Drive can plug into a PC through a USB connection, so you can copy other digital images onto the Zip drive. What's more, it can also plug into a standard television so you can show your digital photo album on a TV screen.

Pricing will be announced upon its release in the fourth quarter, but Jacobs says he expects it will cost less than $300.

"It's great for business presentations," Jacobs says. You can prepare a slide show of images, including Microsoft Powerpoint slides or other file types that PictureIQ supports, and show the presentation on a standard TV. You simply plug in the Zip drive and use an infrared-powered remote control to advance the slide show.

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