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New Western Digital Drives Sport E-Paper Labels
New Western Digital Drives Sport E-Paper Labels

By Mark Long
October 6, 2009 1:54PM

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Two new external drive families from Western Digital aim to help consumers and creative professionals organize, back up and secure massive amounts of digital content. The Western Digital drives feature e-paper technology for customizable labels. Western Digital's drives incorporate password protection and encryption to keep data safe.

Western Digital has rolled out new external hard drives that will make it easier for users to know exactly what's on their drives, as well as how much storage space remains available. Known as My Book Elite (Windows) and My Book Studio (Mac), the new product families feature a customizable label based on e-paper technology which reads like ink on paper.

Western Digital's new drives are designed to give consumers and creative design professionals "an elegant and practical way to organize their content while enjoying the peace of mind that their data is backed up and secure," said Dale Pistilli, Western Digital's vice president of marketing. Users "can easily see at a glance what is stored on their drive, how much capacity is available, and whether the drive is locked."

Simplified PC Backup

The new external drives are aimed at consumers who generate, store and back up massive amounts of digital content. According to research firm Parks Associates, the average U.S. broadband household currently has digital media and files that consume more than 120GB of storage -- a number that is forecast to reach one terabyte by 2013.

Identification problems often arise whenever data is stored on multiple external drives, which can make it difficult for users to know just where the content they are looking for resides. The SmartWare software that ships with the new drives enables users to create a custom name to remind them about the specific content stored on each device. The resulting e-label -- which is always visible, even when the drive is unplugged -- can be changed as often as the user desires.

The drives also incorporate password protection and 256-bit hardware-based encryption features to help keep users' data safe. The devices are designed to lower internal drive power consumption by up to 30 percent. For example, a sleep mode is available for reducing power during idle times, together with a power-saving feature that syncs the on and off states of the drive and its associated computer.

Western Digital has also made an effort to simplify the initial backup process, which launches automatically whenever a new drive is plugged in for the first time. Thereafter, the user's files are backed up automatically every time an existing file is updated or a new file is added.

Offerings for the Mac

Western Digital's e-label technology is also now available on external drives formatted specifically for Mac machines running Mac OS X Tiger, Leopard and Snow Leopard. The drives are equipped with a FireWire 800 interface and are compatible with Time Machine, Apple's backup solution, said Western Digital spokesperson Constance Griffiths. But otherwise they offer the same features found on the company's latest drives for PCs running Windows.

The FireWire 800 interface is clearly aimed at photographers, videographers and other Mac computer enthusiasts who require accelerated performance. "They also have a very large number of projects and files which they need to keep organized across multiple hard drives," Pistilli said.

Western Digital's drives for the Mac are available in capacities of 500GB, 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB, with prices ranging between $149.99 and $299.99. My Book Elite offerings for Windows machines, which are priced from $169.99 to $279.99, are available in capacities of 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB.

"The new drives are now available from [Western Digital] online and also at retailers such as Best Buy or Amazon," Griffiths said.

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