SmartDisk is introducing new external hard drives – called FirePower – that integrate FireWire2 support at Macworld Expo.

FireWire2 is the next generation of the Apple-invented standard. It supports data transfers at 800Mb per second and is backwards compatible with computers and peripherals that support FireWire 1. It also works with USB 2.0-equipped Windows PCs.

The news lends further weight to the rumours that Apple will announce FireWire 2 support at Expo later today.

SmartDisk describes its products as "a new line of high performance desktop hard drives that connect to Apple's computers using the new, higher speed standard". It also reveals that its solution works, "with FireWire 800 or standard FireWire400-equipped Macs".

"FireWire 800 sets the stage for a huge leap in the speed of data transfer between Mac platforms and their peripherals," said SmartDisk's vice president of product development Stuart Cox.

The device contains a 3.5-inch mechanism with a 7,200rpm spindle speed and has a 200GB capacity. It carries an 8MB cache (for faster data retrieval), and utilizes Oxford Semiconductor's 922 chip. It will be available in March.