Verbatim Store 'n' Go USB Hard Drive
It's hard to get excited about a portable hard drive. The drive I carry with me on most trips is gutted from an old Archos media player and ported to a new drive case. Verbatim recently released the Store 'n' Go USB Hard Drive, which I'd consider exciting from a portable drive perspective, combining reasonable capacity with software designed to make taking your desktop in your pocket a reality.
The Store 'n' Go USB hard drive from Verbatim comes in 4GB and 8GB models, both with "mobile launchpad" software from Ceedo which adds a start menu of applications and files stored on the Verbatim drive to any Windows computer. By working from the onboard start menu, you maintain access to a self-contained set of applications on a drive connected to any public PC, including your office PC or the public terminals at Internet cafes. An add programs feature makes it easy to install apps like Firefox, Thunderbird, messenger clients and the typical communication programs so you keep your favorites, your settings and your information on the drive at all times. What makes this interesting to me is the ability to take basic photo editing and audio editing apps with me so I don't need to rely on Internet access for performing quick edits when I'm on a public machine. It's a handy backup for podcasters covering a live event or people who need specific tools but don't want a laptop. For basic utilities a bundled list of apps gives you a direct connection to downloading files to the Verbatim drive.
As part of the setup process, you can automatically associate quick launch menu items on a per-computer basis, so reconnecting to several computers gives you the quick launch settings for that computer. Ceedo will import browser favorites automatically. Temp files and clipboard are cleared when you eject the drive. The only thing missing is an integrated system for encrypting the drive, although you could create a virtual partition with something like TrueCrypt to protect sensitive data.
The drive is approximately 2-inches square with about 1/2-inch of thickness, with a form-fitting protective case to prevent scratches in your pocket or backpack. The USB connector tucks into the drive, keeping everything contained and eliminating the risk of damaging the connector while porting it around. A light on the center of the unit identifies drive activity and shows whether the drive is actually connected, which is primarily cosmetic. As someone who is space conscious while traveling, the USB Store 'n' Go is a very compact way to backup everything I do while traveling, allowing me to keep a copy of files physically in my pocket, in the event of laptop damage or theft. I'm always more concerned with data loss while traveling than actually physically losing any of my hardware (although losing gear is certainly inconvenient). By keeping a small drive in your pocket, all your settings and files are right there for immediate recovery.
Drives are compatible with Mac, Linux and Windows, although the Ceedo software is Windows only.