The History And Evolution Of Portable Storage Devices

One of the computer accessories that almost everyone has is a flash drive, also referred to as a USB thumb drive. Whether you own a computer or not, most people keep these portable storage devices for their personal data storage. From personal files, music, movies, and so, USB flash drives have a vast range of use. 

What most people don’t know is the history of portable storage devices. Most of us don’t know that before 1998, there were no flash drives but the ineffective floppy disks. So, what is the history of portable storage devices, and how have they evolved? Here is everything you need to know about these devices. 

What is a Flash Drive? 

Flash drives, also known as USB thumb drives, are data storage devices. They are small devices you can carry along and allow you to access saved files from the next computer you use. You can delete files you don’t need to create more space for new files.  

Flash drives are integrated with a USB interface, which provides power and connects the device with the computer. Depending on your needs, you have a vast range of sizes to select from. For business needs, you might need as large as 64GB and above. If you need larger thumb drives, manufacturers are producing 512GB and 1TB flash drives. 

History and Evolution of Portable Storage Devices 

The current USB flash drives in the market have come a long way. You will be surprised to learn that the first flash drive had only an 8MB capacity. That’s was pretty small storage. The flash disk, known as the 16 megabyte “disgo”, was invented by the Dov Moran, who was the CEO and president of the M-System Flash Pioneers in 1998. Dan Harkabi would then take the role of marketing and development of these drives at M-Systems. 

One of the most significant advances that Dan Harkabi made in flash drives is the developing drive that does not need drivers to use it. You just to plug and use. But later, two more companies, Trek 2000 and Netac, came into the scene with similar products. All three companies got patents for their flash drives. 

The first thumb drive was the “Memory Key” from the M-Systems. The drive had a capacity of 8MB. It would be followed by the 16MB version by Trek 2000 company that was introduced to the market by IBM. This marked the start of back to back releases of high Capacity flash drives from the three companies. 

In 2003, M-Systems released the 64MB version. With a larger capacity, the flash drive would make it big in the US market and across the world as individuals and companies were quickly adopting the portable storage options. The increasing capacity and the ease of use of the thumb drive would wipe the use of floppy disks out of the market for good. 

Modern Portable Devices 

modern portable usb

Over the years, we have seen a huge improvement in both the quality and quantity of portable storage devices. From small capacities of 8MB, today, we have flash drives with 512G space and above. The quality of the flash disks has increased tremendously. For those who used thumb drives in the early and middle 2000s, we know how quickly these gadgets would get messed up. Companies such as SanDisk are producing high-quality USB flash drives. 

The modern portable storage devices have also evolved from just using flash disks. Most portable storage devices manufacturers are also producing portable hard disks that connect to the computer using a USB cable. Unlike the thumb drives, hard disks offer a higher storage capacity that could be several Terabytes. Hard disks are popular with individuals or companies looking for larger, quality, and reliable data storage. 

Portable Storage Devices and Marketing 

One of the biggest evolutions of the portable storage devices is in the marketing. With almost everyone looking for portable storage, most businesses turned to flash drives for marketing strategies. That’s why you will find out that almost every business has labelled thumb drives for their customers.  

Most of these companies give their potential customers free flash drives loaded with promotional materials, catalogues and discount vouchers. So, when you open the device, you will find marketing materials and probably buy their products. That’s how critical these storage devices have become. 

In conclusion, there are many advantages of portable storage devices that make them almost a must-have for everyone. They are small, reliable, and rarely break because there are no moving parts. You can also access your files on any computer that has a USB port. However, you need to bets the best quality brands to enjoy these benefits.