Maxtor has launched a new mini hard drive that it hopes will replace the need to carry about big and bulky hard drives.

The Titanium metallic paint finished Maxtor OneTouch III, Mini Edition weighs seven ounces (200g), and is equipped with black rubber side panels molded to fit above the housing on all sides, providing non-skid "feet" as well as added vibration protection.

According to Maxtor is the first mobile storage solution in the industry that comes fully loaded with the latest software innovations to protect and manage digital content, including automated backup, data encryption, data synchronisation and System Rollback to restore applications and operating system while keeping digital files current.

Maxtor has released the drive on the back of research IDC research predicting that the global mobile worker population will grow by more than 200 million users between 2004 and 2009.

IDC's analysis suggests there will be more than 850 million mobile workers during 2009, representing more than one-quarter of the global workforce.

The Maxtor OneTouch III, Mini Edition includes Sync, a software feature that automatically synchronises files between two or more computer systems on the same operating platform.

In addition, the drive will also come with a System Rollback feature that reverts a PC's applications and operating system to a healthier point in time, while preserving current data.

The drive also includes two levels of security: software encryption to safeguard its contents if the drive is ever lost or stolen, and Maxtor DriveLock, embedded firmware that further restricts data access should it fall into the wrong hands.

The firmware is designed to deny access without the correct password even if the internal hard drive is removed from the casing and attached to another computer.

The Maxtor OneTouch III, Mini Edition comes in a 60GB or 100GB capacity and connects to a Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP computer via a USB2.0 port.

Available in mid-May, the 60GB will cost £99 and the 100Gb £149.