Intel has already made its NAND affection pretty clear, but the company's now officially made things official, announcing that it's hopping into the crowded storage market with its own line of solid state offerings. Catchily-dubbed the Z-U130, the drives will come in 1GB, 2GB, 4GB and 8GB varieties to start with, boasting read and write speeds of 28MB per second and 20MB per second, respectively, with a standard USB 2.0/1.1 interface hooking things up. While you won't be able to buy one to do as you please with, Intel certainly doesn't seem to think the drives will be lacking for homes, foreseeing them being used in everything from laptops, desktops, and embedded applications to handheld systems and video game consoles, in each case promising to boost start-up times and reduce power consumption. According to Intel, the 1GB and 2GB drives are already in production, with the 4GB model set to follow in April and the 8GB not expected until December. While it's not getting specific on pricing just yet, Intel says the 4GB drive should be priced below comparable 1.8-inch drives by the second half of this year once production ramps up, with the price expected to come in line with 2.5-inch drives by 2008. Not so clear, unfortunately, is when we might see some drives larger than 8GB.

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