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New handhelds favor Clik drive

Iomega announces that its latest small storage drive will support the upcoming wave of Jupiter-class CE computers.

In its effort to promote its Clik drive as the ideal storage solution for anything smaller than a breadbox, Iomega today announced that the small storage units would support the upcoming wave of Jupiter-class Windows CE handheld computers.

Clik is an external drive that attaches to notebooks, handheld computers, and digital cameras. Clik can be used in place of a floppy disk for traditional data storage, or as digital "film" to store images for digital cameras. Clik disks hold 40MB of information and are about the size of a matchbook, according to Iomega.

The company today said that its Clik drives will be compatible with the new Handheld PC Professional Edition devices. Because these HPCs do not have floppy drives, Clik is effectively the only external storage solution for these PC companions.

"There is no way to archive, backup, or carry extra files with you," said Mike McCannon, product manager for Clik. "We're seeing customers very excited about this removable storage solution."

The company announced last week its Flash Reader for digital camera users. Digital photographers can drop a CompactFlash or SmartMedia memory card into the Flash Reader, which will download the images to Clik disks. The Flash Reader and Clik drive together are expected to retail for $249.

The Clik drive is expected to retail for $199, with Clik disks priced at $9.95 each.

"To have people shift to a concept like traditional digital cameras, where the film (memory cards) is $100 is problematic," said Bruce Kasrel, an analyst at Forrester Research. "I don't think people are attached to 35mm film, what they're attached to is cheap, convenient, easy picture-taking. The concept of fairly inexpensive digital media is a good idea."

In addition to the digital camera bundle, Iomega will announce retail bundles for Clik mobile computer users in the coming weeks, according to McCannon, including a Clik drive, PC card interface and desktop dock.

"At some point, the market will demand a portable solution like us," McCannon said. "This is interoperable between all these products."

By the end of the year, a low-power, less-expensive version will also be available for digital camera manufacturers, with the stated goal of including Clik drives in digital cameras.

"I believe that more and more people will have focused function devices," he said. "We're seeing customers be very excited about this removable storage solution."

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