USB flash drives are NAND-type flash memory data storage devices integrated with a USB interface. They are typically small, lightweight, removable and rewritable. Memory capacity typically ranges from 8 megabytes up to 64 gigabytes , limited only by current flash memory densities. As capacity increases, so does price.

An original 16 megabyte "disgo"; The 8 MB version is considered to be the first USB flash drive

The flash drive was first invented in 1998 by Dov Moran, President & CEO of M-Systems Flash Pioneers (Israel). Dan Harkabi, who is now a Vice President at SanDisk, led the development and marketing team at M-Systems. His most significant contribution was that the product be self-reliant and free of the need to install drivers. Nearly simultaneous development of similar products was undertaken at Netac and at Trek 2000, Ltd. All three companies have similar and disputed patents. IBM was the first North American seller of a USB flash drive, and marketed an 8 MB version of the product in 2001 under the "Memory Key" moniker. IBM later introduced a 16 MB version manufactured by Trek 2000, and returned to M-Systems for the 64 MB version in 2003. Lexar can also lay claim to a USB flash drive product. In 2000 they introduced a Compact Flash (CF) card having an internal USB function. Lexar offered a companion card reader and USB cable that eliminated the need for a USB hub.



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