Exactly What Is A USB Flash Drive

Being in the industry we tend to forget that not everyone is familiar with exactly what a USB Flash Drive is, what it’s used for and why they are becoming increasing popular. So here’s our basic guide to what a USB Flash Drive is:

USB Flash drives (also known as USB memory sticks, USB pen drives or USB thumb drives) were first commercially available in the year 2000. IBM launched them under the brand name “DiskOnKey” and they were introduced as a replacement for the floppy disc. By today’s standard the first USB flash drives had a tiny 8MB of storage capacity but even this was 4 times the amount of data that could be stored on a floppy disk.

The portability of USB flash drives and the ability to carry your data around on a key ring or lanyard and simply plug it into a PC via a USB port meant they became very popular very quickly. Essentially a USB flash drive is a just a way of storing data and storing it on something that is lightweight, easy to carry, easy to use and works on all PC and Mac platforms.

USB Flash Drive

Over time larger storage capacities became available and the data transfer speeds increased to support the movement of larger amounts of information. Today typical USB flash drives are 2GB to 4GB but drives up to a whopping 64GB are now making their way into the market. A 64GB flash drive holds 8,000 times more data than the 8MB version first introduced in 2000!!

Inside every USB flash drive is a small printed circuit board (controller chip) that is connected to a flash memory module (the piece on which the data is stored). These two elements are then encased in an outer shell that is typically made of plastic, metal or more recently wood/bamboo.

The USB connector that protrudes out of the end of a flash drive is simply inserted into any PC or Mac and then the storage space on the USB flash drive is accessible and data can to saved to/from the drive. USB flash drives don’t need batteries because they draw all the power they need to work from the USB port they are plugged into.

Today USB flash drives are very popular with companies because they can print their logo or brand onto the outside casing of the flash drive and give them away at trade shows, conference, exhibitions and so on. With the large amount of storage space now available on entry level versions of the flash drive companies are also pre-loading their sales brochures and other marketing material onto the memory of the flash drive – this not only saves them printing and transportation costs but it’s a really effective way of distributing large amounts of data and information about their company.

People that are given branded flash drives (flash drives printed with a company logo on) are typically delighted to receive them because they have a high perceived value and because they can use they to save and transport their own data around.

USB2U is one of the longest established suppliers of USB flash drives in the UK. Established in 2002 shortly after the introduction of flash drives USB2U and its sister company USBNow have supplied millions of USB flash drives to thousands and thousands of customers. If you are looking for a trusted supplier of USB memory sticks, USB thumb drives or USB pen drives then get in touch with USB2U today.

Share story