It’s Us Three And U3

SanDisk and M-Technologies' exciting new USB Flash memory drive functionality garners heavyweight support from Kingston, Memorex and Verbatim

It appears our latest format war is steadily gaining pace this week with news today that the U3 standard has gained backing from big storage fish Kingston, Memorex and Verbatim.


The standard, first announced in January at CES, is an exciting development for fans of USB flash memory drives (and to be honest, who isn’t?). Jointly developed by ubiquitous format guru SanDisk and flash disk pioneers M-Systems, the concept behind U3 is to increase the functionality of these drives beyond just storage. Principally, enabling programmes and user configurations to run directly from a drive, in effect creating a kind of mobile office where you could plug in your drive to any computer and in moments be using it as if it were you own. Of course, this technology can then be integrated into products such as SanDisk’s microcruzer (above) or M-Technology’s DiskOnKey (below).


Ok, enough of the refresh. Today’s announcement is significant because, though great in theory, no new standard has a chance of widespread acceptance without support from the major storage manufacturers, so to get moguls’ Kingston, Memorex and Verbatim onboard on the same day is quite a coup.

Naturally, when any new technology comes into the field claiming to be the latest and greatest you can bet it is not alone and surely enough U3 faces competition from the Drive Alliance standard backed by Lexar and Samsung. Drive Alliance also has one major advantage over U3: it doesn’t charge royalties to use the technology.

So the battleground is set once again and it’s sure to heat up some more before we see the first U3 and Drive Alliance supported USB flash memory drives which are scheduled to ship in the summer.

M Systems
Kingston UK
Verbatim Europe
Drive Alliance

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