Smart choices emerge from the USB Flash arena

Taipei (Taiwan) - From the looks of things at Hall 1 of Computex, it would seem that everyone and his granny has at least one Flash USB storage device on display. The word being used to pitch these devices is "smart," which might lead one to ask, "What, exactly, is so smart about USB flash drives?"

Some possible definitions for smart in this context could be "capable of surviving a volcano eruption," or "incapable of being read by unauthorized parties." The SanDisk Cruzer Titanium can, we've been assured, withstand 2,000 pounds of pressure before it cracks. Unfortunately it only comes in 1 GB and 2 GB models, so if you have a lot of data to take with you to the next Kilauea expedition, it might be a good idea for you to grab a handful. Meanwhile the Kingston DataTraveler range comes in capacities of 128 MB up to 4 GB, with higher-end models featuring 128-bit hardware encryption.

What's may be more interesting about the booming USB Flash market than all the fashion innovations we're seeing here - make 'em faster, boot operating systems off of them, use them as WiFi sniffers and put flashing lights and half-naked women on the case - is pricing: With this many competitors in the market, we can expect to see price per megabyte fall even further, and read/write speed of pen drives increase.

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