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Mobile storage provider Toshiba Storage Device Division launched Jan. 4 a new line of 2.5-inch USB 2.0 portable external hard drives in 100GB, 120GB and 160GB capacities with automated backup capability.

Toshiba’s new HDDs feature automatic power-on and save capabilities for backup of photo, video, music and data files and are aimed at users in the digital home and home office.

“The need for backing up and preserving digital data is increasing quickly among the massive consumer base,” said Dave Reinsel, director of storage hardware research at IDC in Framingham, Mass.

“In 2006, more hard disk drive terabytes shipped into personal storage devices worldwide than in the enterprise storage market. This important inflection point exemplifies the critical need for companies to offer reliable and easy-to-use backup solutions that will help the masses protect and preserve their digital memories.”

The Toshiba USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive is automatically powered through a USB cable when the computer is turned on for switch-free on/off functions. Bundled with Toshiba’s NTI Shadow software, the backup software eliminates the need to push a button or click an icon to activate back-up once parameters are set.

Click here to read more about Toshiba’s ultra-high-speed SD cards.

NTI Shadow runs in the background, capturing updates to files and automatically saving them to the external drive.

The often tedious backup process is further simplified by choosing continuous or specific days, times and frequencies for backup operation in the set-up process, a spokesperson for the Irvine, Calif.-based division of Toshiba said.

At 5.6 inches long by 3.5 inches wide and less than 1 inch tall, the portable drive doesn’t take much space on a desktop.

Availability and pricing

The Toshiba USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive will be on retail store shelves in spring 2007 starting at $139.99.

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