Data! Data! And more Data! From business conferences to classrooms and medical centres, the unending trail of digital and wireless bits dominate the global-scape with seemingly a rod of iron. The custodians of law and the masters of crime in today’s electronic era would find themselves handicapped dispensing with their most faithful accomplice.  Where would we be had it not been for the boon of the portable, handheld data transfer device which is popular as the flash drive!

USB flash drives were born in the high-end laboratory of the Israeli firm, M-Systems Company, co-invented by Amir Ban, Dov Moran and OronOgdan in 1999. It was duly patented by the same under a product description of having a physical cable between the memory unit and USB connector- slightly different from how we know it today.

The first commercial selling of flash drives began in 2000 by IBM and Trek Technologies; they were then marketed as ‘DiskOnKey’ and ‘ThumbDrives’ respectively. ‘DiskOnKey’ was armed with a storage capacity of 8 MB (megabytes), exceeding more than five times than that of its elderly and soon-to-be derelict cousin, the floppy disk. These are rightly termed as the first-generation flash drives.


By the year 2003, IBM was seen capitalising on a 64 MB version and as research, technology and expertise blossomed into higher and higher pinnacles of improvement, the current century witnessed a 128 MB version of the pen drive on sale.  The first appearance of the 1-gigabyte flash drive transpired in 2004.

By 2013, people had become quite familiar with the second-generation pen drives with data transfer rate of 480 megabits per second as the upper bound.

To think of streamlining data, signal or bandwidth at super speeds and cordless pathways is now a household concept in the tech industry, and a constant theme of the ingenious minds at work in the same. As of March 2015, some manufacturers have stormed the scene with the announcement of flash drives boasting of data transfer speeds up to 530 megabytes per second, known as the fourth-generation pen drives.

Flash drives are a direct consequence of advances in transistor fabrication and microprocessor technology. As exotic as it is to see our stuff compressed into a thumb-sized diskette, it is equally exciting to see it augmenting its capacity, engulfing yet a larger amount data every time a new model is launched!

Flash drives are envisioned to reach up to several terabytes at their post of duty while still managing to remain the harmless, teeny-weeny objects that they are. We could not have asked for more!