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Iomega portable USB 2.0 eGo hard drives get more capacity and better data protection

Iomega beefs up its portable USB 2.0 eGo drives to 500 GB, and adds security software and EMC Retrospect backup application.

Iomega, the consumer and small business products division of EMC Corp., introduced the newest version of the company's eGo portable hard drives. The consumer, home office, and SMB-targeted storage devices are now USB 2.0 compliant and include a data protection software suite.

The eGo single disk storage unit uses industry-standard 9 mm, 2.5-inch hard drives from multiple manufacturers, and Iomega includes a 3-year warranty on all drives.

The data protection software bundle includes a six-month subscription to McAfee VirusScan Plus software and Iomega's QuikProtect, which the company claims simplifies laptop and netbook file-level data backup to network-attached storage (NAS) or other devices. "It's for the person that just wants it [backup] to happen without ever having to think about it," said Tom Kampfer, Iomega's COO.

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The Iomega Protection Suite also includes EMC's Retrospect backup software, which protects data, applications, and settings, and can be integrated with EMC's Mozy online cloud storage product.

Brian Babineau, a senior analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group says the Data Protection suite will help Iomega in the competitive portable hard-drive market.

"It puts [Iomega] in a good spot because they're not just a traditional low-cost supplier of personal storage," Babineau says. "It's loaded up with some pretty comprehensive software that helps customers actual use it and get some value out of it. It gives [Iomega] a chance to differentiate themselves against traditional hard-drive vendors that just sell capacity.""

The eGo portable hard drive comes in 250 GB, 320 GB, and 500 GB models. Iomega claimed the eGo's 16 mm anodized aluminum shell and Drop Guard feature can protect data for drops up to 51 inches. Customers can purchase a Power Grip Belt that Iomega claimed protects the drive from drops of seven feet (a Power Grip Belt is included with the 500 GB BlackBelt model).

"I think we'll see the 500 GB be the sweet spot in this category for the rest of the year, and the price will continue to come down," Kampfer said.

To offer a 750 GB or 1 TB portable unit now would mean adding another platter and bumping up the 9 mm form factor to 12.5 mm. Kampfer said he expects to see 750 GB and 1 TB portable storage units next year when the industry figures out how to squish the extra capacity into a standard 9 mm form.

The 250 GB eGo portable HD is priced at $84.99. The 320 GB model is 94.99 and the 500 GB BlackBelt model is $139.99. The eGo competes with offerings from Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., Seagate Technology's Free Agent portable drive and the Western Digital Corp. My Passport portable HD.

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