LaCie launched its 60GB PocketDrive, and introduced new FireWire hard drives, a CD-RW drive, its equivalent to the SuperDrive, and a number of other products at Macword Expo.

All these products should be released in the UK soon, confirmed Herve Petit, the company's European operations controller. "These products should appear on the UK market just a few weeks after US release," he claimed.

The 60GB PocketDrive sits in the same style enclosure as other products in this range. It supports backwards-compatible USB 2.0 as well as FireWire, and comes with the appropriate cable for both interfaces. It employs the Oxford FireWire bridge, making this product a viable option for backing up DV files and offering transfer rates of up to 35MB per second (MBps).

The drive measures 3.5-x-5.75-x-1-inches and weighs 12 ounces. It can hold 100 hours of CD audio, or 15 of MPEG-2 video. These drives also feature Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) motor technology, which makes them some of the quietest external drives on the market, according LaCie. The 60GB drive costs $749 in the US, and ships with Silverlining Pro, LaCie's drive-management utility.

Pocket CD-RW The company's 16x-10x-24x PocketCD-RW drive was also unveiled in San Francisco. This palm-sized $349 drive also supports USB 2.0 and FireWire, is hot-pluggable and retains the design of previous products in the range. It's capable of determining the system interface and connection type, so drives mount when connected. "Robust" CD burning is boosted by BURN-proof (Buffer Under Run) technology, which ensures error-free recording at up to 16x, the company claims.

LaCie announced its 32x-10x-40x external CD-RW drive. This unit also offers both FireWire and USB 2.0 connectivity, and, with its combination of three laser technologies operates at close to the theoretical speed limit for CD-R writing. It also featurs BURN-proof technology, which LaCie said ensures error free recording at 32x speeds. The drive is capable of adapting its speed to system throughput, and can burn CDs at high-speed in the background while a user is employing other applications. This drive is available now, costs $269, and ships with Toast Lite.

DVD writing The company's cross-platform FireWire DVD drive, which reads and writes DVD-R/RAM/RW discs and CD-R/RW discs, was also announced here. This SuperDrive-type unit supports the gamut of back-up requirements, is hot-pluggable and offers wide support for multiple back-up media types. It plays back DVD-ROM videos when connected to an MPEG-equipped computer, and reads DVD-ROMs at 10x speeds. Its support of the DVD-RAM standard means the product offers almost instant retrieval of files or video frames. It reads from and writes to such discs at 2x speeds. This drive ships in March and costs $599. It ships with Toast Lite and Dantz Retrospect Express.

LaCie introduced both 120 and 160GB FireWire hard drives. These high-capacity drives can store over 30 hours of video and offer transfer rates of up to 35MBps. The drives revolve at 7,200 and 5,400 rpm respectively, and both offer a 2MB buffer to protect against machine-led faults in data. Hot-pluggable, the drives ship in February and cost $399 and $449 respectively.

SilverKeeper, the company's new software for back-up management has also been introduced. It allows regular back-up sessions to be scheduled. This solution will be included with SilverLining, LaCie's disc-management utility, in all LaCie's drives. The solution lets users automate data back-ups, view document sources and destination, check the status of the last back-up, and verify files before and after back-ups take place. It's compatible with Mac OS 9.x and OS X, and works with any hard drive and most disk volumes – including FireWire, USB, ATA and SCSI volumes. This product ships in February and will be made available for free download from LaCie's Web site.

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