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Iomega relaunches failed Clik disk as PocketZip

HipZip music player heralds Windscale/Sellafield-style name-change

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Iomega has finally launched its anticipated digital music player - dubbed HipZip - it's attempt not only to break into a new market but to boost sales of its ailing Clik disk format.

Or PocketZip as we should now call it, Iomega having changed the name to capitalise on what is its strongest brand - Zip - and to reintroduce a storage product that hardly anyone bought into first time round.

Iomega has consistently promoted the 40MB Clik/Pocket Zip as a cheaper alternative to solid state memory. And indeed it is cheaper, but the consumer electronics industry remains convinced that Flash memory its derivatives are the way of the future. They reckon that users will store digital data on cheap PC hard drives, downloading files to a one or two solid state units on an ad hoc basis.

Iomega, on the other hand, believes users want to build collections on removable media. The snag is, Clik/PocketZip remains pricey compared to audio tape or MiniDisc and unless Iomega strikes a deal with a number of major consumer electronics companies, it's simply not going to build up the critical mass any new consumer recording format needs. Even if it does work well with digital music copy protection schemes, another of Iomega's selling points.

HipZip itself has been seen in Iomega demo booths at the big consumer computing shows for some time. The release version sports a big backlit screen, graphic equaliser, built-in 12-hour rechargeable LiIon battery and a USB port. It will cost $299. ®

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