Verbatim launches undersized flash drives in goofy cases, claims people want less

(via CDFreaks)

CHARLOTTE, NC (March 21, 2006) – Verbatim® Corporation, the worldwide leader in CD and DVD media, announced today an exciting new storage solution, the Verbatim16MB FlashDisc™. The innovative FlashDisc is not only a brand new product, it forms the basis for an entirely new flash-based media category. Developed by M-Systems, the Verbatim FlashDisc will be available in April. With an MSRP of only $19.99 for a 3-pack, the new media is set to revolutionize the way consumers, students and office workers exchange photos, music and other digital data files.

Now read that and pay attention. Verbatim wants you to buy 3 USB flash drives with 16 Meg each. You will be expected to pay $20 for them. To some, that might not seem bad. To me, it’s just crazy. But the press release has more of an explanation for the drives:

Verbatim’s FlashDisc is ideal for users who simply want a low-cost way to transport modest-capacity digital files from one computer to another or to share files on a disc that doesn’t necessarily have to be returned. Students can keep multiple FlashDiscs for each class subject and can access the information any time, anywhere. People of all ages can use FlashDiscs to distribute photos or favorite songs to friends and family. Businesses can share data and presentations with colleagues.

In other words, you are expected to swap these USB drives to share data. You should feel like they are inexpensive enough that you won’t care about getting the drive back. And naturally, you’ll buy many 3 packs so you have enough spares to do that. Now for the next kink in what’s wrong with this silly idea, check out what these drives look like.


Now, imagine carrying around half a dozen of these. These drives have a swing-open/click-shut cover for the USB interface, and a big, ugly ring-like plastic cover over the rest of them. Presumably, this is to make us think of these as small discs, instead of overpriced USB drives. But it also makes them big, and not easy to carry around.

I’m constantly amazed at what sells well and what doesn’t. I could be way out of line here, and these might be the next hot thing. But I assure you, I’m not paying $7 for 16 Meg of USB key storage only to give the drive to someone else and not worry about whether or not I get it back. That’s just not sensible.

Be sure to read the entire press release at CDFreaks if you are interested.  And feel free to tell me if I’m way off-base here on how these will sell.  Maybe everyone else in the world sees sufficient value in these for them to survive, and I’ll be proven wrong once again.

[tags]Verbatim, Dumb consumer devices, USB key[/tags]