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Seagate, Toshiba, Netgear tout consumer storage

Among new CES products: Seagate's encrypted external drive, Toshiba's tiny external drive, and Netgear's network-attached storage products for consumers.

Netgear's ReadyNAS Duo systems are a new but still expensive attempt to bring networked storage to the home. Netgear

Innumerable technology companies are trying to grab their share of consumer gadget spending, and storage makers are no exception. On Monday, Seagate, Toshiba, and Netgear all unveiled new products for the market at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

One of the bolder products, in my opinion, is from Netgear, which moved its ReadyNAS line, acquired from start-up InFrant, more in the consumer direction with the introduction of the ReadyNAS Duo 500GB, 750GB, and 1TB network-attached storage (NAS) devices.

These systems attach to computers over a local network rather than a USB, Firewire, or eSATA port, meaning that multiple computers can share access. But connecting over Ethernet is a new challenge for home computer users who already have enough trouble being sysadmins and might not want to advance their network admin skills, too.

The systems support two hard drives, the optional second one mirroring data for greater protection. Like most NAS devices, though, they aren't cheap, though: a model with a single 500GB drive costs $500.

Toshiba has given a new look to its external drives. Toshiba

The ReadyNAS Duo products will ship late in the first quarter, Netgear said. The products include the NTI Shadow backup software tool.

These aren't just low-end business-oriented devices in a shiny enclosure. For one thing, customers can plug cameras into the included USB port, and the devices will automatically copy photos. For another, they support a number of streaming media protocols, including UPnP AV, iTunes, and Logitech Squeezecenter, for sending video and audio over the network.

Seagate aims for the security-conscious
Seagate had a plethora of announcements. First is the Maxtor BlackArmor external USB drive, which has built-in encryption and will cost $150 for a 160GB drive when it ships in the second quarter.

Seagate's DAVE storage device can connect wirelessly to share data. Seagate

Next from Seagate is its PipelineHD series of hard drives, which have features such as low noise, low power consumption, and high capacity and are specifically geared for digital video recorders. Initial capacity will be 320GB when the products start shipping in the first half of the year, with later capacities planned to reach 1 terabyte.

Most unconventional is the Digital Audio Video Experience (DAVE) products, a 60GB storage system that connects wirelessly through Bluetooth and 80211.b/g, as well as with a USB connection. The systems can be customized and extended, and partners that will offer DAVE-based devices include Sanyo, PortoMedia, and HarmanBecker, Seagate said.

Seagate's Maxtor BlackArmor drive has built-in encryption. Seagate

Toshiba's tiny external drive
Toshiba announced that it's built its 1.8-inch hard drives into an external USB-connected storage system with 60GB, 80GB, and 120GB capacities. The company plans to include encryption and backup software with the devices, which will go on sale this spring. Toshiba didn't announce a price.

A larger 2.5-inch drive will be available sooner: Toshiba announced a 320GB, $200 model that will ship in January. It includes NTI Shadow backup software. Toshiba's personal storage products (the 2.5-inch drive line also includes 250GB and 160GB models) also sport a new glossy finish and colors including gray, red, and green.