Pen Drive – How Did It Come About?
Pen Drive – How Did It Come About?
A pen drive is a tiny portable data storage device that can be plugged in to the USB port of any compatible computer. A pen drive consists of a non-volatile memory, clock-generator, LED indicator and a controller. Some pen drives provide VoIP, mp3 player, fingerprint sensor, password protection and other functions.
The technological history of a pen drive began with a CMOS circuit. This low power, high density circuits marked the beginning of digital integrated circuits. CMOS circuits are comparable to the BIOS circuits of today and were responsible for the basic system settings of the computer. There was however a major problem with this CMOS circuit. A constant power source was necessary to maintain the data.
Then there was the advent of the EEPROM chip. This chip overcame the disadvantage of the CMOS chip but they had a limited lifetime. The materials inside the chip wore out with increasing number of write operations.
This paved the way for the entry of pen drives. Pen drives have flash memory and so are also called flash drives. Flash memory was originally invented by Intel in 1988 and they provided a faster access to data. Flash memory could be used by any electrical application which did not require electrical current. M-Systems (SanDisk) were the first to work on this concept in 1998. Initially, SanDisk collaborated with IBM in producing the pen drive, but later on it bought all the rights and produced advanced versions of this pen drive.
Flash memory was invented by Dr. Fujio Masuoka for Toshiba in 1980. Flash memory can be both NOR and NAND types. NOR-type flash chip was brought into the market by Intel in 1988. NOR-based flash memory soon gave way to the more affordable NAND-type flash memory. 1989 saw the advent of NAND flash through Toshiba. Comparatively, NAND had faster erase and write times, greater storage capacities and lower costs.
A pen drive uses NAND flash memory chip. NAND chip having storage capacity of 1 GB was introduced by SanDisk and Toshiba in 2005. Samsung followed suit with a 2 GB version followed by 4GB and 8 GB in the next year. Today we can get 128 GB memory pen drive in the market!
The latest technology to be tested in pen drives is the U3 platform. The security constraint has been greatly overcome by this technology. SanDisk has developed this platform. The pen drive can be made tamper-proof and integrated with passwords for security measures. U3 platform in pen drives utilizes ICQ instant messaging software. This software helps the pen drive owner to email and Google search with ease.
The LaunchPad interface is enabled inside the pen drive using U3 platform. Many different types of software can be loaded in the pen drive using this interface and various jobs can be performed. These include photo management, password protection, anti-virus, file synchronization and call-making software.
The U3 platform in pen drives has the ability to personalize any PC. It has the ability to customize desktop, games web browsers, e-mail programs, instant messaging and personal preferences. However, file security and data privacy are the most important considerations in pen drives using U3. Its unique password-protect software does not allow any breach of security.
Pen drives have thus made a mark for themselves in our lives and are now irreplaceable. Be it data management, storage, transfer or security; pen drives cannot be done without. Their portability and multi-utility make them the ideal companion for any computer buff. However, care must be taken to keep it entirely virus-free so that it does not transform into a bane from a boon.
Roberto Sedycias works as IT consultant for www.polomercantil.com.br