USB Flash Drives are normal devices today, but not so long ago the term “flash drive” had never been heard, until you were associating the word with a Ferrari. So where did the revolutionary USB Flash Drive derive? Well, set your brain back to 1995, it generally does not seem so long ago. Believe it or not, most computer users were still regularly using floppy disks to transfer their digital data. Actually, practically all computers had integrated floppy disk drives because floppy disks were the most popular, practical and cheapest format for portable storage.

Also at that time, Zip disks and Jaz disks (both manufactured by Iomega) came available, but they were very costly. Zip disks could hold 100MB / 250MB of data, there were even 750MB disks in existence. Jaz disks offered 1GB capacity and later 2GB, however the high(ish) price for both formats meant many computer users couldn’t justify the expenses, nor did many computer users have the need to save and transfer large amounts of memory, unlike today. Zip disks and Jaz drives eventually died out within just a few years of production, these were also bulky and accordingly the Jaz disk broke quite easily.

CD Roms had also entered the market, however they weren’t as popular for recording as the technology remained in its early stages. It wasn’t before late 90’s that CD rewriting appeared on many, if not most, new computers. By the year 2000, rewritable CD’s had fast become as popular, or even more, than floppy disks. These convenient new writable CD’s were affordable, compact, held a substantial amount of data and used little storage space.

By 2000, the demand for transferring huge amounts of data increased dramatically, within a 12 months large portable storage disks were essential to not only companies, but also for personal computer users as well. This is primarily due to the introduction of digital camera models, camcorders and downloaded audio recordings (very popular with internet users). Individuals were now storing, collecting and transferring digital information a lot more than previously. Computers were also becoming exceptionally affordable due to lower technology costs plus the demand and desire to have internet use. By early 2000, a huge percentage of households, if not most, would have a computer.

As many of us have unfortunately experienced, computers have a life span. They are able to become painstakingly slow, annoyingly crash and even die very inconvenient deaths. Individuals were now having to back up their systems regularly (and still do) in worries of losing all their stored data. Businesses were also starting to go paperless, their information was now being held on computer systems. This saved companies time, resources and space for storage, it was however essential to back up their important data in order to avoid future problems.

Because of this, nearly every computer was manufactured with the technology to read and write on to CDs and very soon after DVD rewritable disks took over. Large data storage and transfer ability was now a necessity more than a luxury. custom usb flash drive The reason why as to why floppy disks soon became redundant are no surprise. The common floppy disk held only 1.44MB of memory which is tiny considering that nowadays an individual image taken on an electronic camera usually exceeds this amount. Rewritable DVDs were cheap and may hold 4.7GB of data, it would have a staggering 3263 floppy disks to do this. CDs could hold an average 650MB, this would mean 444 floppy disks. These comparative figures still amaze me today.

Around the year 2000, one of the latest things connected with computers (other than the internet) was the revolutionary USB “Universal Serial Bus”. Replacing famous brands most SCSI connection ports used to connect printers along with other peripherals etc. USB ports were ground breaking. You didn’t need to be an expert to put your computer together, you merely plugged the USB connector cable in to the port and the other end of the cable into your device and off you went. No longer was it necessary to have a specific entry for the printer, mouse or keyboard as they could be operated from any available USB port.

You could even plug in your camera and instantly access your photos via USB connection. Many USB devices didn’t even need an electrical power source or battery, low power could actually be supplied to the device by simply connecting the it to the port. Today people regularly charge their mobile phones and MP3 players via USB, whilst working away on the computers. Nowadays, you will find USB ports not only on computers but also televisions, DVD players, audio players and even some car dashboards.

OK, so I’ve emphasized on how great USB “Universal Serial Bus” is and just why the demand for portable storage has dramatically increased, but let’s focus this topic. A USB Flash Drive, is also known as memory stick, thumb drive and jump drive. It is just a pocket sized device which is traditionally the size of a normal lighter and capable of carrying HUGE amounts of digital data (some can store an enormous 256GB). In the early days (2002) USB Flash Drives weren’t cheap and even the smallest memory sizes were quite expensive.

USB Flash Drives were however highly desirable because they could be connected to any USB port with no need of a specific drive to read them. These were also robust, some can actually withstand getting wet and continue steadily to are good as new once dried (do not try this even though I’ve and it did actually work when dry). Not only were USB Flash Drives convenient and robust, they were easy to carry and had decent read and write speeds, many flash memory providers even claim that USB Flash Drives can be used over 1 million times.

Currently the hottest memory size for a Flash Drive is 2GB, however NAND Flash Memory has become a lot more affordable as years and even months have gone by. A 2GB flash drive is enough of storage for most users but trends are showing that 4GB and 8GB drives are fast becoming more popular, this is to do with lower pricing trends and the demand for more space for storage as the digital revolution continues to grow. USB Flash Drives aren’t just popular formats for data storage, they are also just about the most popular promotional gifts in the promotional gift market.

Due low unit prices USB Drives make fantastic promotional items for most reasons. They might be effectively branded with company logos and information, Pantone color matched and uploaded with promotional material. They are able to also be produced in unique shapes for very little cost. The merchandise are always well received, appreciated and retain a high end value. What better solution to expose your company logo every day? You can even attach them to your key ring!