Adaptec announced today it's expanding its operations with the creation of a desktop-solutions business unit, which will focus on connectivity products.

The first product from the unit will be the FireConnect 4300. It's a PCI-based, 3-port, 400Mbit/second FireWire host adaptor for PCs and Macs. It gives older Macs plug-&-play connectivity to FireWire peripherals.

Philippe Leonard, Adaptec's product and program marketing manager, told Macworld: "We aim to become a major player in the third-party connectivity market. We have a wonderful brand, we have established trust in our products, and this is a strategy to expand the reach of our products."

Strength Adaptec believes its core strength is connectivity. Leonard claimed: " We have one of the largest compatibility labs, and have four or five hundred differing systems installed to test our products on. Large OEMs use our lab to test compatibility issues.

"Adaptec's core competency is really in the Input/Output space. It's what we do best, moving from peripherals to computers and back again."

Exploding The desktop solutions unit has begun life with the launch of a FireWire product because Adaptec believes the market for FireWire is exploding. Laurence said: "More and more OEMs are adopting FireWire in their products. From scanners to printers, we see a wonderful future for FireWire - as we do for USB and SCSI."

Adaptec has also made a $1,000,000 investment in fibre-channel research. The company is poised to make announcements about solutions for this in the next quarter, Leonard confirmed. Adaptec is also working on RAID, SCSI and USB solutions. Leonard hinted that one forthcoming product could be a SCSI to USB adaptor.

FireConnect 4300 will be available soon, and is expected to cost £60.