The History Of The USB
USB 1.0 which was first introduced in 1996 and remained an emerging standard for some time But as
computing power grew at a fast pace the size of files seemed to grow exponentially and the floppy drive was simply
not up to the job meaning many people were left having to burn very expensive CD's as burning technology came into
play in the nick of time.
Flash memory technology at the time was still
in its infancy as far as the mainstream consumer was concerned and it was also well beyond the affordability of all
but the richest consumers.
USB started making rapid gains fortunately as the price for flash memory started to tumble due to
advances in flash memory technology and leaner manufacturing processes, manufacturers started coming up with many
new uses for this very user friendly (operating system permitting) plug and play capability, and the pen drive was borne not a moment to soon. Mobile data transfer
capacity rocketed upwards from a humble 2MB and it did not seem too long until the capacity of USB pen drives
surpassed that of the CD much to the distaste of the media sellers.
Increased capacities then drove the need for higher data transfer speeds as transfer times for
larger files were somewhat slow, but were still perfectly adequate for smaller files, but it was not long before
USB 2.0 and then Hi-speed USB appeared and filled the ever-growing need for speedier data transfer.
There was of course a lot of confusion between USB 2 and Hi speed USB during this transition, USB
2.0 could transfer data at an astonishing rate of 480mbps per second but a lot of early adopters and technologists
were left with a bitter taste in their mouths as retail companies often sold devices and PCI cards as USB 2.0 but
in reality they were only USB 2.0 compliant and still had a much slower transfer speed.
This was not necessarily the fault of the retailers but more of the manufacturers who simply failed
to label their products correctly. At the time it was also argued that this was just a device to clear stock of
Time moved on though and the USB interface as a standard is now nicely matured and USB interfaces
are common across a huge range of consumer and commercial products from phones to cameras. MP4 players and even
video players although it was and still is to a degree questionable as to whether USB or Firewire will win the day
as the truly dominant force in data transfer protocol.
The USB flash drive has really risen to the
challenge to take maximum advantage of the USB interface and it has become the de facto standard for mobile
storage. Pen Drive storage capacities are massive and well
beyond most peoples daily requirements,
What were almost in the beginning badges of your technical know how have now become a mainstream
device and sales are said to exceed 150 million units per year just for pen drives alone. The USB interface due to
the ease of plug and play demanded by modern consumers has found its way into an estimated 6 billion commercial and
consumer devices and this number is growing at over 30% per annum.
One problem however is it is so easy to transfer and store data on these devices that many users
are really taking them for granted and not saving their data elsewhere, which is all well and good until your drive
breaks or gets damaged, or perhaps the memory controller fails.
USB data recovery is fortunately available
and data recovery software can also be used if the drive
is not damaged.
Another issue these devices have highlighted is the need for security as sensitive data (business
or personal) can be quickly and easily stolen from the source. Identity theft is here to stay and industrial theft
is also prevalent so security of flash drives has had to be
developed both on a personal and commercial scale.
Technology has answered the problem and secure pen drives (and secure partitioning software) are
now available and manufacturing giant Fujitsu has continued its innovation in security with the invention of a
smart USB drives which even have the ability to auto erase data on a USB memory device as well as having other key
As it seems with all technology every development brings us even greater speed and the recently
announced (November 2008 )new USB 3.0 standard is no exception. This latest USB standard promises blisteringly fast
data transfer speeds 10x greater than current specs and over 400 times faster than the original USB 1.0
specification which means we will be seeing (subject to system limitations) transfer speeds just shy of the 5Gbps
This very fast transfer speed is also being touted as the final nail in the coffin for the firewire
standard which has been falling behind in more recent times, and if this happens USB 3.0 will have become the
Most mainstream technology manufacturers and organisations have already accepted the standard and
if plans move ahead as indicated we will see the arrival of consumer products using this standard mid to late