Blimey a 128GB Thunderbolt Drive – That’s Massive!

When we started USB2U a little over 10 years ago the most popular USB sticks we sold had 16MB or 32MB of storage. At the time these storage options seemed more than large enough and it was difficult to see why anyone would want anything much bigger. Of course the memory size was always going to increase but I don’t think back then that anyone could image we’d now be talking about a thumb drive that had 128 Gigabytes of storage and what’s more could transfer the data to and from the drive at the break neck speed of 10 Gigabytes per second!

To be fair we’re not talking about USB technology here but Thunderbolt. Thumb drives that use Thunderbolt look very similar to USB sticks (see image below) but the connector and underlying technology is different.

Thunderbolt is a joint development between Apple and Intel. It’s 20 times faster than USB 2.0 and twice as fast as the new USB 2.0 standard which would allow you to load a full length HD movie in around 30 seconds!

But Apple and Intel are not hanging around - at last week’s Computex show in Taipei they not only announced the launch of Thunderbolt 2 (which sees transfer speeds increase to 20GB per second) but they also showcased a Thumb Drive with a whopping 128GB of storage!

Effectively what we’re seeing here is a glimpse of the future – these are first generation products that will appeal to the classic “early adopter” who is not going to be put off by a fairly limited choice a high price tag. For the next few years most consumers will continue to use USB 2.0 and increasingly USB 3.0 products but it’s going to be interesting to see how quickly Thunderbolt moves into the mainstream.

The price of Thunderbolt peripherals and in particular Thunderbolt Memory Sticks means they are not going to challenge the dominance of USB memory sticks in the near future. The promotional goods sector is one of the largest markets for USB sticks at the moment but they work to budgets of £2-£3 per USB sticks so they’re unlikely to make the move to Thunderbolt thumb drives in the next few years!

So if you want to get your hands on a super-fast Thunderbolt drive with tons of storage then you’re going to have to put your hands into your own pocket and buy one because no sensible company or school is going to be giving them away as part of a “promotion” any time soon!.

Thunberbolt USB Flash Drive - Image courtesy of Intel

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