Today, we take high capacity USB memory sticks, flash drives, thumb drives (or whatever name you personally use) for granted. However, their introduction was fraught with competing patent infringement claims since those claiming to have invented the device obviously saw its financial potential.
They first became commercially available during the year 2000 – Trek Technology’s “ThumbDrive”, and IBM’s “DiskOnKey”. Both products could not be said to be “cheap” and they were intended to replace the (then) popular “floppy disk” as a vehicle for storing or transferring computer files. They offered eight MB’s of storage which was more than double that of the basic 3 ½ inch floppy disk found on most PC’s at that time. While the USB connecting flash drives did away with the need for a somewhat bulky floppy disk drive; sales of flash drives took a while to mature since many PC’s at that time did not have USB ports.
The Reign Of The USB Port
Currently, the USB port is considered a must and consumers become upset if a new computer does not have at least 4 such ports. As well as using them to connect anything from their phones to their mp3 players, cameras and numerous other gadgets; we have all become addicted to popping in a USB drive whenever we want to extract a file out; or, input a file into a computer for whatever reason.
Like most electronic hardware products; once a critical mass had been reached in sales for USB Flash drives; their prices began to tumble down. Again, like most “things” computer; the capacity of USB drives is continuously expanding and has already passed the one terabyte (TB) level.
No Moving Parts – Inherent Reliability
While there have been some cases of fake drives that advertize a higher capacity than they actually have; there isn’t really all that much that can go wrong with the drive itself. This means that; should you come across people offering to sell you cheap USB flash drives in bulk; this is one time when the word “cheap” will not be hitched on to the word “nasty”. If you have a need for that quantity and the capacity of the cheap USB drives meets your needs; they are going to be reliable and a cheap price would make them a bargain.