Iogear is to launch a very sexily small 1.8-inch USB external hard drive range, as well as 1.8" combo external ION hard drives. Compatible with both the Mac and the PC, the new drives offer high data transfer rates of up to 480 Mbps on USB 2.0 and 400 Mbps on FireWire. Prices begin at $200 for the 20 GByte USB 2.0 drive, but a 40GB version is also available for $350.

This really does open up some interesting possibilities... one could install a Linux OS onto one of these little gadgets, to carry around and plug in anywhere (assuming the drives are bootable, which there is no reason that they should not.) Even the smaller 20GB model would give one all the space needed for such a Linux install, all in the handy size of 1.8". Such Linux distros already exist for USB flash drives, but their functionality is limited due to lack of disk space. These innovations could change all that. And even if you don't install an OS on them, 20GB in your pocket is pretty cool if you ask me.