At Macworld San Francisco 2005, LaCie announced a mini version of its Ethernet Disk, appropriately named the Ethernet Disk Mini. This cross-platform drive (PC, Mac, and Linux) can be attached to a home network via Ethernet to be shared among multiple users, or if you're feeling selfish, you can plug it straight into your computer via its USB connection. It comes in three capacities: 250GB, 400GB, and 500GB. Pricing is $299 for the 250GB and $499 for the 400GB. Pricing for the 500GB is not yet available.
Upside: LaCie calls the Ethernet Disk Mini plug and play and claims that users need no prior networking experience. The disk doesn't need drivers or a server. A Web-based administration tool allows you to change share levels and permissions, allowing different users varying levels of access to the data on the drive. And while the drive is on the network, you can use the USB port to daisy-chain a second external drive for additional storage.
Downside: Though LaCie is calling this drive portable, at 5.5 pounds, it's not exactly a featherweight. At CNET, we love networked drives that include print servers, but maybe LaCie's designers thought that would negate the easy-to-use aspect of the Ethernet Disk Mini.
Outlook: As long as the hard drive is dependable, this could do well. Consumers like small drives (they take up less desk space), and networked drives are insanely popular right now. Other than that, it seems like a fairly standard network drive. Check back for a full review.