Iomega has announced a new removable-storage system, the Iomega Peerless drive, that it plans to launch later this year in 5GB, 10GB and 20GB versions.

Peerless drives are about the size of a PDA (personal digital assistant), and slip into a base station about four-inches across and five-inches tall.

The drive can be used with Macintosh computers and devices for playing music and video on the road - such as an in-car video player.

Showing off The device will be demoed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held from the January 6-9 at the Las Vegas Convention Centre.

Iomega is positioning the drive as a faster, affordable alternative to optical-drive technologies, such as CD-RW and DVD.

The Peerless drive can edit digital-video sequences and back-up hard-drives.

Secure data This drive includes chip-based "identifier technology" that can be used to secure data from unauthorized use. Iomega said it created the drive by integrating read/write heads into sealed 5GB, 10GB and 20GB removable disks. The device will have "an expected" data transfer rate of 15Mbps when used with a FireWire connection.

The Peerless drive will ship in Europe in September. It's expected to retail for US$249, and disks will be priced at $129 (5GB), $159 (10GB) and $199 (20GB). FireWire and USB 1.1 interface modules are expected to be available in September, with USB 2.0 and SCSI modules available at a later date. Pricing for these modules are not available.

The Peerless drive will compete with a host of alternative storage technologies, including Flotec Engineering's Pockey drive, which comes in 6GB and 20GB versions, and LaCie's PocketDrive which also supports FireWire and comes in 10GB and 30GB models.