|This article does not cite any references or sources. (July 2009)|
The Jaz drive was a removable disk storage system introduced by the Iomega company in 1995. The system has since been discontinued. The Jaz disks were originally released with a 1 GB capacity (there was also 540 MB, but it was unreleased) in a 3½-inch form factor; its capacity was a significant increase over Iomega's most popular product at the time, the Zip drive, with its 100 MB capacity. The Jaz drive mainly used the SCSI interface (the IDE internal version is rare), but an adapter known as Jaz Traveller was available to connect it to a standard parallel port. The capacity was later increased to 2 GB, through a drive and disk revision in 1998, before the Jaz line was ultimately discontinued in 2002.
The Jaz never attained as much success or market penetration as the Zip, and explanations for this vary. Some[who?] attribute it to poor marketing on Iomega's part or that it was largely unnecessary to transport a gigabyte worth of information at a time when hard drives were still only a few gigabytes. Others attribute slow sales to its cost per megabyte being too high. While the Zip drive was marketed as a high-capacity floppy disk, originally the Jaz drive was directed to a higher-end market and saw little in the SOHO or consumer markets. Compared to the SCSI Zip drive, which used DB25 connectors, the Jaz used the HD50 connectors and supported ID 0-6. While SCSI was standard on the Macintosh platform, a SCSI interface card was required to use the drives on PCs, and this card was too costly for most home users. The rising popularity and decreasing price of CD-R/CD-RW and DVD+-R/DVD+-RW drives greatly hurt the success of the Jaz drive, both because their price-per-megabyte was much lower and because the discs could be read in almost any standard CD-ROM drive.
The Jaz drive was less prone to failure than was the Zip drive. Even so, earlier Jaz drives could overheat, and loading-mechanism jams could leave a cartridge stuck in the drive. Forcibly ejecting a stuck cartridge could destroy both drive and cartridge. Jaz drives were based on hard-disk technology, making them susceptible to contaminants in the drive; dust and grit could be introduced through a hole in the cartridge where the motor drove the platters, and any dust built up on the external case could enter the drive with its next insertion. Additionally, the metal sliding door was capable of wearing the plastic, resulting in debris and head crashes.
Furthermore, the mechanism used to attach the platters to the spindle motor was complex and tended to vibrate noisily. Iomega implemented an anti-gyro device (much like an optical CD/DVD drive) within the cartridge to prevent vibration at spin-up, but this device lost effectiveness with age. As a result, the two platters could lose alignment, rendering the cartridge unusable. The plastic gears attached to the bottom of a Jaz cartridge often stripped and broke, rendering the inserted disk physically incapable of spinning up to operating speed.
The later REV drive attempted to use similar technology to address the same market segment as the Jaz drive had done.