Paris-based peripherals maker LaCie is known for its compact portable storage and Mac-friendly design, which is probably why drive manufacturer Seagate snapped it up earlier this year. As the Mac portable line transitions toward USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt, that's driving interface changes in the peripherals market; hence today's introduction of LaCie's RuggedKey USB 3 keychain drive.
The RuggedKey includes a removable orange plastic sleeve that's modeled on the company's ruggedized mobile drives. Inside the sleeve is a steel keychain drive that comes in either 16GB or 32GB capacities, but the upgrade to USB 3 means that file transfers can hit speeds up to 3x as fast as with USB 2 equivalent drives. (The drive is backwards-compatible with USB 2 and USB 1 ports.)
As to the "rugged" part of the equation, LaCie claims that the RuggedKey has drop resistance to 100 meters when it's stored in the sleeve (which does make the drive look a little like a baby carrot). To prove it, a company executive thoughtfully took one along on a skydiving trip. You can see the results in the video below.
The RuggedKey starts at $39.99 for the 16GB capacity, rising to $69.99 for the 32GB capacity; you can compare it to the rest of LaCie's line of flash storage offerings. It's available now from the LaCie online store.