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Portable Data on the Go

In live in a time where our lives revolve around data. From invoices to presentations, from reports to entertainment everything is around data.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2010 17:36 IST

In live in a time where our lives revolve around data. From invoices to presentations, from reports to entertainment everything is around data. A day without data and we would be dead. Data connects us with our offices, with our customers and with our family too. Think about it our family is more connected to us through data then it ever was! In effect we have become data suckers and combined with all the gizmos, laptops, cellphones and cameras. Our memory hunger has fulled a revolution of sorts in portable storage. Looking at some of the portable memory devices that help us carry our data on the go.

USB Flash Drives
One of our most trusted data companions in these times is the USB Flash Drive. What started as 8 MB Thumb Drive by Trek Technology and IBM is now touching 250GB. And all in hardly less than 2 inches that you can take anywhere.

First let's talk about the really Gigantic USB Flash Drive. Imagine 256GB fitting in your pocket. 256GB is more storage capacity than what most computers had till a little more than a year ago. Now all that on a Flash Drive. Kingston last month announced DataTraveler 310T. The drives have a 25MBps read speeds and 12MBps write speeds. The 310T is priced at little less than Rs.50,000. Now that's a whooping account for storage. So let's look at more practical options available in the Indian market

USB Options in India
There are many options available. The Chinese ones are a much cheaper lot but not advisable especially if your data is valuable. One of the best available branded option in terms of speed, storage and protection is Sandisk Ultra 64GB which comes with a Ultra Backup feature" which means at the touch of a button your critical files are safe. Combine this with data protection feature consisting of password protection and AES encryption ensures data is safe even if in wrong hands! Priced around Rs.9500 to Rs.10,000 this is a safer option than the Chinese counterparts priced at less than half this. If price is a constraint there are also good cheaper and reliable options available from Transcend (JetFlash V20 Flash Drive) and Moserbaer in the Rs.6,000 to Rs.8,000 range. For more cheaper options ebay.in has ample yet how safe your data and how long will the USB drive last is unknown.

How to select the Right USB Flash Drive?
Storage capacity - Options galore from 1gb to 64 gb in India in the branded segment.

Reliable product - we store many important files in our USB flash drive, investment in a reliable product from a trusted brand is certainly critical to safeguard your data.

Included Software - This includes sync tools, security programs, password and more. Also some of the included software makes the USB multimedia friendly if you are using it for entertainment. If one uses USB flash drive to backup data regularly, it makes sense to consider brands like Sandisk Ultra Backup - a special USB flash drive with dedicated, one-touch "Backup" key that make it extremely easy to backup your data.

Size - Size matters and smaller the more beautiful is the drive. One of the smallest ones available is from a brand called PICO. Ranging from 2GB to 32GB and weighing less than 6 grams and speeds Up to 30MB/s (200X) data transfer rate and data retention of 10 years it is tiny in size but great at storage.

SD Cards
Digital cameras and cell phones would be incomplete without them. While choosing a SD card it is important to look at the Write Speed reason being it plays a very plays a crucial part in the overall system of the camera when taking pictures in rapid succession.

This effectively means if a card cannot process data quickly enough then the burst mode shooting may pause unexpectedly as the card catches up to the camera. Burst mode bottlenecks can lead to missing "the" shot, especially at sporting or other fast-motion events.

The world's fastest card is 32GB SanDisk Extreme SDHC card. The speed is up to 30 megabytes per second (MB/s)2 read and write speeds. This one is especially good for those photographers who utilize the advanced features of today's DSLR cameras.

Market size of flash memory in India
According to the Indian Semiconductor Association (ISA)-Frost & Sullivan report update 2008-10, the total revenues of the Indian semiconductor market (total market-TM) are poised to grow from USD 5.9 billion in 2008 to USD 7.59 billion in 2010 at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.4 per cent. These figures clearly depict the potential for the flash memory in the domain.

From the industry Manisha Sood of SanDisk Corporation shared her views on India market with the changing architecture "India has been witnessing rapid adoption of consumer electronics such as mobile phones, digital cameras, personal computers and digital music players which has led to the proliferation of memory/storage." She added "For instance her company SanDisk has been been able to shift the market for flash memory from mere 'data storage' to 'lifestyle storage' today. We certainly think that the changing digital lifestyle will continue to influence our products and we will continue to offer products that are ideal for a variety of uses including a range of cards for digital cameras and camcorders, USB flash drives and cards for mobile phones."

The Last Word
From a 8MB Thumb Drive to the present day memory monsters of 128 GB in less than a decade it's been quite a journey for flash drives. Moreover with every new gizmo the hunger for memory is only increasing. At the rate flash memory is progressing we will probably we carrying a terabyte of storage in less than an inch in the next 2-3 years. From the information absorption point of view I guess in olden days what took 7-8 lifetimes to absorb we are absorbing probably more in less than a decade.

Puneet Mehrotra writes on technology www.thebusinessedition.compuneet@tbe.in