U3 Standard Drives Debut

The next logical evolution of the flash memory key?

That’s the great thing about standards: everybody agrees. The problem is it takes an excruciatingly long time for that to happen and then there’s often more than one standard. That’s true here too, with U3 and Drive Alliance locking horns. The former is ready though, so get ready to pack up your office on your USB drive.


For those of you in the corner wearing hats with big “D”s on them about now I’m not going to explain U3 yet again, instead I’m going to quote myself:

“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.”


Ok, freaky duality moment aside, I hope you’re all with me. Yes? Good. So, U3 is go and partners are announcing out drives like there’s no tomorrow. We’ve got partners I’ve heard of like Kingston’s DataTraveler (which got frustrated during the wait and also made a proprietary drive), M-Systems, Memorex, SanDisk and Verbatim and ones that induce a blank stare such as disgo, Disk2Go and Intuix.


All these companies are chucking out sizes of between 512MB and 1GB (apart from clever clogs disk2go and Memorex who have beaten the others to 2GB) and all will appear on market shelves in the next 2/4 weeks. Price breaks average out as roughly £25 for a half gig, £50 for the gig and £100 for two.

Time to stop letting other people’s stupid OS setups annoy you, and – competing standards or not – I say a firm ”amen” to that.


M Systems
Kingston UK
Verbatim Europe

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