WD, the world's leader in external storage solutions, today introduced its new 500 GB My Passport Essential limited edition designs portable hard drives, available exclusively at Best Buy and the WD Store. Consumers can choose from several unique designs that appeal to a wide variety of personal styles, ranging from outdoor enthusiasts to urban trendsetters. Designed by students at California State University, Long Beach's Industrial Design program, the drives are available in the following styles: Boom Box, Black Hole, Cityscape, Fuchsia Leaf and Wave. The decorative patterns are especially geared for students who want to express their individual style while choosing a reliable, ultra-portable place to store their media and back up their valuable work. The drives are Windows compatible and include WD SmartWare software, which provides a simple, visual method for backup using a single-screen view of the drive's contents. "The contents of individuals' portable storage contain all the ways they express themselves - music, images, and videos - and tell a story about who they are," said Dale Pistilli, vice president of marketing of WD's branded products group. "Expressing individual style is important. That's why we teamed up with California State University, Long Beach design students, who have their finger on the latest fashion trends." My Passport Essential limited edition designs portable drives also feature user-selected password protection combined with 256-bit hardware-based encryption. Typically found only on much more expensive drive systems, the encryption acts as a virtual padlock to keep users' data private. Price and Availability The new My Passport Essential limited edition designs are offered in 500 GB and have a 2-year limited warranty. My Passport Essential limited edition designs are now available exclusively at Best Buy and online at www.wdstore.com. MSRP is $119.99 USD.