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WD Brings E-Ink-style E-Labels to Portable HDDs

Gordon Kelly


WD Brings E-Ink-style Labels to Portable HDDs

The best ideas are simple and after already having had one with its e-paper My Book Studio range, it would seem silly not to expand it...

Consequently the storage guru has announced its updated 'My Passport Studio' line of 2.5in external drives and knock me down with a feather: they also now feature the same 'e-label' display technology as its larger My Book counterparts (the 'E-Ink' brand is copyrighted) .

As with their predecessors, the e-label uses no power when the drive is unplugged, but will continuously display the name given to the drive, a bar showing how full the drive is for quick reference and precisely how much storage space is free to the nearest gigabyte. Handy stuff.

Aside from this the line also welcomes FireWire 800 support for the first time alongside USB 2.0 (sadly not USB 3.0) and will be able pre-formatted for Macs and compatible with TimeMachine. For PC users, a quick reformat will see them fully compatible, and - whichever side of the computer divide you sit on - 256bit hardware based encryption and WD's SmartWare automatic and continuous backup software is there to safeguard your data.

Three capacities will be available from launch: 320GB, 500GB and 640GB with prices ranging from $149.99 to $199.99 complete with a three year warranty. The trio of My Passport Studio drives launch immediately in the US, though we await info on UK/European pricing and availability. If I had to call it, my guess is... any, minute, now.


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March 3, 2010, 5:49 am

Now this is a proper application for e-ink and one which suddenly makes the stuff amazingly useful! A persistent display which replaces the old segmented LCD's. Why isn't this on everything already? They should build it into batteries, remote controls, rechargeable toothbrushes/shavers.. and so on... immediately. You could even use it to write the amount of credit left on an oyster or some such card.

Well done WD, well done.


March 3, 2010, 2:12 pm


and on memory sticks! 640GB in a size that can easily fit in a pocket / bag for taking off-site....


March 3, 2010, 2:32 pm

If you applied it to Shuffle/Clip sized mp3 players, you could maybe cut down on battery drain.

Geoff Richards

March 3, 2010, 2:45 pm

@GoldenGuy - nice idea, though I'd be surprised if the old-style B&W LCD displays on such devices caused any significant battery drain. It's usually the backlight that sucks the most juice and those are reflective LCD

@Kaurisol - Corsair, for one, has had a little display like this on some of their USB sticks for a year or two already. Definitely a cool way to know how full / empty various sticks are without having to plug each one in! :)


March 3, 2010, 4:35 pm

A small thing, but very handy. Among all the pointless gimmicks, every now and then the industry gives us something that's actually rather useful... Thanks WD - though I won't be buying one until they come with USB3.

Peter 20

March 3, 2010, 7:36 pm

USB 2.0 ??? What the heck? They may as well put in USB 1.0 or a serial port.


March 3, 2010, 8:13 pm

"320GB, 500GB and 640GB with prices ranging from $149.99 to $199.99 "

that cant be right can it?.

£100 plus for 320gb?


March 3, 2010, 10:56 pm

@betelgeus - yep, that's right. The premium is steep, but I suspect will largely disappear by the second generation.


March 6, 2010, 6:45 pm

@ Peter. You make it sound like USB 2.0 is obselete already. There's still loads of life in it yet.

Plus, if WD only put the technology on new USB 3.0 drives it would only cater for those 6 customers that use USB 3.0..


March 6, 2010, 9:09 pm

@Mik3yB: while I agree 3.0 isn't 'needed' just yet it does futureproof the device tenfold and with there only being a small price increase with the use of 3.0 it would generally make it worthwhile to go 3.0 esp. with it being fully compatible with 2.0


March 9, 2010, 1:30 am

If they still have the mega-flaky micro-usb of the other new passport drives, then they are useless!

Geoff Richards

March 9, 2010, 2:25 am

@Peter Jones - what's flaky about the micro-USB on the other drives exactly? I bought one recently and haven't had any problems...

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