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Toshiba's tiny and mighty 500GB hard drive is no bigger than an index card

Toshiba announced Monday the 500GB Canvio Slim ($115) portable hard drive which is smaller than an index card--4.2 x 2.9 inches--and slightly more than a quarter-inch (0.35) thick.

Toshiba is touting the drive as an amiable companion for an Ultrabook, but the unit works with both PCs and Macs. The drive includes an NFTS driver for a Mac so files need not be reformatted when swapping the unit between platforms.

The drive, expected to reach retailers in October, supports both USB 3.0 and 2.0 connections and comes with a three-year warranty.

The Canvio Slim bests Toshiba's existing pocket-sized 500GB Canvio 3.0 with dimensions 3.1 x 4.7 by 0.5 inches thick that currently sells for about $80 at various online retailers. The Canvio Slim drive also compete with Seagate's GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive that sports dimensions 4.3 x 3.27 by .59 inches thick that sells for about $80 and Western Digital's recently released and svelte My Passport Edge.

Included with the Canvio Slim drive is software for backing up a Windows computer. NTI Backup Now EZ software will scan a system and make recommendations about backup options, such as backing up to the cloud or to the Canvio Slim. A 30-day free trial of a cloud storage service is included with the package.

To use the drive with Apple's backup program, TimeMachine, the unit will need to be formatted in HFS+.

"As consumer electronics continue to get thinner, lighter, and more portable, we recognized a huge demand to create a storage device that is in line with those trends," Toshiba Vice President Maciek Brzeski said in a statement.

"With the Canvio Slim," he added, "consumers can now easily stash their storage device right along with their Ultrabook, knowing that their data is always safe, even [when] they're on the go."

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