USB Flash Sticks – Confused

In the world of USB flash drives the naming convention is a tricky one. For some people they are called USB drives, for others they are referred to as memory sticks but it does not end there. USB flash drives have also picked up the short hand of; disks, pens, thumb drives or USB sticks.

Memory Stick

There can’t be many products in the world that are so widely used and used so frequently that have a identity crisis when it comes to what they are called. But, does it really matter because irrespective of what they are called we all know what people are referring to when they call them any of these names, don’t we?

Well actually no. A “Memory Stick” is a trademarked name owed by Sony. They developed the Memory Stick in 1998 for use in a wide range of their consumer products but its most commonly used in Digital Cameras. Today there are numerous versions of the Memory Stick available including the Pro, Duo and Micro. There’s even a version of the Memory Stick that can be inserted in the hindquarters of Sony's ABIO robot pet!

If you preface the phrase Memory Stick with “USB” then all of a sudden you have a different product but with a very similar function (storage and transportation of digital files). One is typically used by inserting it inside a peripheral like a camera or mobile phone whereas a USB memory stick is connected to a PC.

If you are looking for USB Sticks for use within your company or perhaps for promotional use then don’t get caught out by looking for Memory Sticks because you’ll actually be asking for something completely different.

Irrespective of what you call your USB Flash Drive when you are searching for suppliers providing you use the word

USB Memory Stick

“USB” as part of the descriptor then you’ll ensure that you are asking for a USB flash drive or USB Memory Stick (disk, pen, thumb drive etc.)

One day we might all agree on  a standard naming convention but given this situation has developed over the last 8-10 years don’t expect things to get any clearer or easier any time soon.

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