Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Disney Gadget Magnetism

I recently walked the exhibit floor of a consumer-electronics tradeshow for retailers. The exhibitors were mostly manufacturers, showing their latest products in hope of securing holiday-season orders from retailers.

In lieu of any breakthrough new gadgets, my attention turned to stuff that might interest my daughter. At 9 months old, pretty much anything she can chew on is interesting, but projecting forward a bit in her development, I noted this Mini Mouse USB drive.

Sorry for the blurry picture, but I wanted to show how small it was in relation to my hand. You can fold the plug back into the pink case, making it yet smaller. Here is a clearer view of the device (without Mini stenciled on the front) from the manufacturer, A-DATA of Taiwan.

They weren’t giving the USB drives away at the booth, but the A-DATA reps did provide me (on behalf of my daughter) what’s pictured below.

You might think these are Disney-logo’d Secure Digital (SD) cards, ranging in capacity from 256 megabytes to 2 gigabytes. You might also think this is one of those Asian-market peculiarities, like the 22,000 unique products adorned by Hello Kitty logos. Think again.

First, these are actually refrigerator magnets of Disney-logo’d SD cards, sized exactly to SD card specifications. Second, although they are not yet available in the United States—as SD cards or magnets, apparently—you can score other Disney-logo’d SD cards (with Disney content) at Wal-Mart today.

And finally, a semi-related thought: Some analysts predict that solid-state media (like that in SD cards) will soon eclipse magnetic media (like that in hard drives). If so, we have now seen how the “magnet” in magnetic media can live on, as the tchotchke version of solid-state media devices, which themselves feature children’s cartoon characters.

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