Iomega has announced a new removable storage system, dubbed the Iomega Peerless drive, which 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 Windows and Macintosh computers, but could also be used with new types of devices for playing music and video on the road, such as an in-car video player. Iomega is positioning the drive as a faster, more affordable alternative to optical drive technologies such as CD-RW and DVD, which can't store as much data and don't perform as quickly according to Iomega. The company said the Peerless drive will make light work of tasks such as editing digital video sequences and backing up large hard-drive partitions. For corporate users, Peerless drives include a chip-based "identifier technology" that can be used to secure data from unauthorized use. In the workplace, the Peerless drive could also be useful for 3D CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing), software development and database management, Iomega said. Iomega said it created the drive by integrating read/write heads into sealed, 5GB, 10GB and 20GB removable disks, an advance that it says can eliminate the risk of dust contamination and enable data transfer rates of "an expected" 15Mbps (bits per second) when used with a FireWire connection. Iomega also shifted some of the hard drive's electronics from the Peerless disks themselves to the base station, a development that will allow the company to offer disks priced as low as one U.S. cent per megabyte, Iomega said. The Peerless drive is expected to begin shipping mid-year to U.S. retailers, with shipments to Europe and Asia-Pacific following in the third quarter. FireWire and USB 1.1 interface modules are expected to be available at the launch, with USB 2.0 and SCSI modules available at a later date. Pricing for those modules wasn't immediately available. The Peerless drive will compete with a host of alternative storage technologies on the market, including Flotec Engineering's Pockey drive, which comes in 6GB and 20GB versions, and LaCie Group SA's PocketDrive, which also supports FireWire and comes in 10GB and 30GB models. Iomega has released a USB version of its 250MB Zip Drive that draws its power from a PC instead of requiring an additional electrical cable.