SanDisk flash drive to offer automatic Web storage

Los Angeles (Reuters) - SanDisk Corp introduced a new flash storage drive on Wednesday that also automatically backs up data to the Internet.

When consumers store documents, photos and music onto SanDisk's new Cruzer Titanium Plus USB flash drive, it will back up that digital information to a Web service offered by a start-up company called BeInSync, which stores data onto Amazon.com Inc's computers.

The new storage drive, which SanDisk believes is the first of its kind, is the latest in a wave of devices that link up with the Internet to offer new features to products that were previously considered stand-alone, or offline, devices.

For example, Amazon's new electronic book reader, Kindle, comes with wireless access, allowing users to directly download books, newspapers and blogs. Sony Corp's competing reader does not have a wireless connection and requires users to link to a computer to upload books onto the device.

The Cruzer, which retails for $59.99 and goes on sale in March, will come with four gigabytes of storage and provide six months of free online backup, After that period, a user pays $29.99 a year to continue the online storage service.

After an initial registration, when the user is online and the drive is plugged in, the information will sync automatically with an online storage account.

BeInSync uses Amazon's S3 storage service, which charges companies and developers a fee to store data on the online retailer's computers. It is part of a set of pay as you go services offered by Amazon to allow companies to build and run Web applications without buying expensive computer equipment.

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