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USB Memory Stick : a very brief history

A usb memory stick is also know as a USB flash drive, flash pen, flash stick or memory stick. Back in 1995 it was becoming quite clear that the serial and parallel ports on the PC were outliving their usefulness. While Ethernet was becoming generally available, it was still rather expensive to implement and not all devices needed to be shared on a Local Area Network. Thus it was deemed that a new serial bus should be designed to take on the role of the old serial and parallel ports. By January of 1996, USB 1.0 was born. The new serial bus protocol supported two signalling rates: low speed and high speed. Unfortunately, there was practically no operating system support and virtually no hardware available with which to operate. Microsoft, ultimately, did create OEM versions of Windows 95 with USB support, but the support written in was barely usable.

In May 1998, Apple released the original Bondi Blue iMac, which was the first personal computer to completely abandon legacy ports in favour of USB. Microsoft released Windows 98 in that year with much better USB support and by September a new revision of device was released. Increasing numbers of USB memory stick devices started to hit the market and made certain that USB was here to stay. Unfortunately, it quickly became evident that 12 Mbps was not enough through put for devices like compact disc writers and external hard drives. By 2000 USB 2.0 was created with a theoretical data transfer rate of 480 Mbps. With the fourteen fold speed increase, USB memory stick became a viable option for fast, portable storage devices.

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