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SanDisk flashes biometric storage gizmo

Company introduces slew of products, including a USB flash storage drive with fingerprint ID for security. Photo: Flash fingerprint

SanDisk on Thursday unveiled a tiny flash memory storage drive that deploys fingerprint identification for security.

The portable USB 2.0 device, dubbed Cruzer Profile, is about the size of a pack of gum and will be sold in 512MB and 1GB capacities. The drive gets activated after an embedded sensor reads and authenticates a finger swiped across the device, the company said. Fingerprint images will be stored on the drive itself.

Cruzer Profile

A version of the drive with 512MB capacity will cost $99.99, while the 1GB version will sell for $199.99. Both models begin shipping next month, the company said. The drives come bundled with software for data file encryption and file backup, and are compatible with Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Mac OS 10.1.2+ and Mac OS 9.2.1+. A driver can be downloaded for Windows 98SE support.

SanDisk also announced Thursday a 2GB Cruzer Titanium USB 2.0 flash storage drive designed to physically protect data. It is made of titanium alloy for extra sturdiness and resistance to wear and corrosion, the company said. The 2GB Cruzer Titanium is expected to ship next month for $249.99. The 512MB and 1GB versions are already available for $84.99 and $169.99, respectively.

Separately, SanDisk introduced an upgrade of xD-Picture Card with 1GB capacity, compatible with Fuji and Olympus cameras. When used with a 5-megapixel digital camera, the card can capture and store about 800 images, the company said. SanDisk said it will start selling the M Series, 1GB card in April for about $139.99.