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16GB Flash USB Dongle 305

Derek Dongle writes "This is great — Toshiba plans to bring out a limited edition 16GB USB dongle. What would you do with 16GB in your pocket? Who knows? As the writer of this story says, "It may be one of the occasional cases of: who cares? It's a 16GB USB drive that fits in your pocket and weighs 12 grams!" I'm not quite sure I want to call it a dongle. At 8x2 cm it's not the smallest thing to attach to a keychain. But at 16 GB you could keep a good bit of your life there, provided you aren't working in audio or video. I keep a 1GB stick on my keychain, which is enough for almost anything.
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16GB Flash USB Dongle

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  • But... (Score:4, Funny)

    by vnangia ( 730425 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:32AM (#16015196)
    640K should be enough for anyone!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tomstdenis ( 446163 )
      Hey if it's enough for the NES, Gameboy, GBA, SNES, Gamegear, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Original PC, most pocket organizers, wrist watches, VCRs, automated robots, door locks, garage door openers, bank machines, your mother, optical mice, printers, monitors, FAX machines, VoIP phones and smart cards, it's good enough for me.

      You is not funny.
    • Yeah but... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:47AM (#16015333)
      I keep wondering who these silly people are who piss on the parade, every time. I expect a healthy chunk of Slashdotters to say "so what!" The submitter is, at best, completely unexcited. I mean, even the author has the "I don't know what it's good for but yeeehaw."

      16GB on a USB dongle/keychain is great! Finally, I can slap a few different movie choices, compressed, and a mess load of mp3s when I head over to visit friends for an evening or family for an afternoon, all without needing a notebook or similar device to hold it. It'd be great to show up for a night of fun and be able to have 10 different comedies movies on your keychain, so your buddies can have a little selection. How about showing up to your sisters house with a dozen Disney/Pixar flicks for the kids to watch... all without scratching a DVD? And, yes, it further pushes into the peripheral (no pun) territory of the iPod's benefits as multipurpose portable storage.

      I hope more people release similar sized usb dongles. And large ones. It all helps drive down the price.
    • I would think that 64GB [tigerdirect.com] should be enough for anyone! But it's never enough.
      Talk about something you'd really hate to loose.
      • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CrazedWalrus ( 901897 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @11:19AM (#16016033) Journal
        You know, you bring up a good point with this flash stick. Check out the numbers:

        Memory Size 64GB
        Write Speed 1 MB/s

        If these things are gonna be larger and larger, they're really gonna have to work on the speed. The stick you point out would need to be partitioned and used in an LVM-like fashion (add partitions as you need space), simply because formatting it would take almost 18 hours.

        Granted -- after initial formatting, you wouldn't need to write 64GB all at once to the stick, but even for "smaller" items (DVD-quality movies, large quantities of music, etc), you're still talking a little over an hour.

        Capacity is wonderful -- if it's actually practical to use.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by awing0 ( 545366 )
          You wouldn't need to write zeros to the whole thing to format it unless you wanted to check for bad blocks. However, every write will reduce its lifespan so I wouldn't waste it with zeros in the first place. Some operating systems call is a quick format, but I just omit the -c from mkfs.
    • Re:But... (Score:5, Funny)

      by malraid ( 592373 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @11:54AM (#16016337)
      My life fits in 50 punched cards
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:32AM (#16015197)
    Speaking of carrying the flash drive on your keychain, how about we see some more DURABALE flash drives for your keychain? So far, the only drive I've seen on the market recently that's worth its salt is the Lexar Jumpdrive Sport (with a strong rubber boot that fits snuggly around it and a strong metal body). But it only goes up to 1 GB.

    Let's face it, most "keychain" drives are flimsy affairs made of plastic, with tops that pop off easily--hardly the kind of thing you want to carry around every day in your pocket (especially if you're active). I wouldn't every want to drop these things, much less think of them going through the wash or getting banged around by my keys.

    How about we see some more durable drives in larger sizes? Hell, I'd be willing to pay a premium for something I could rely on to take a beating.


    • by rogabean ( 741411 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:39AM (#16015261)
      How about we see some that are reliable in general?

      My 256MB Lexar thumb drive has worked great for the past year of heavy usgae, but my 2 Memorex 1GB both failed after 4 months of usage. I'm currently using a 4GB PNY Attache thumb drive. I will agree it's flimsy and I don't have much hope of it lasting either. Hell I have a 16MB Dell thumb drive that is still working great even after 3 years of heavy use! Yet the larger ones always seem to have a pretty unacceptable failure rate.

      I really can't see needing 16GB's of storage in my pocket when I'm having trouble finding usgae for the 4GB's I currently have. I'd like to see how reliable this 16GB drive is as well before I even think about it. It seems to me the larger the flash drive, the less reliable it is long term. I'm not sure why though, and YMMV.

      • Use my 512M daily for over a year and its still solid, no mechanical failures or data problems. Solid.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Seems like a case of "they don't make them like they used to" to me. The smaller ones you mention, I'm guessing, are early generation models where the company put some thought into the design.

        As the price of flash goes down and competition increases the margins on selling these things get razor thin and suddenly everyone's out to reduce their cost by making cheaper, inferior housing for them and probably making sacrifices on the actual flash itself.

    • by kingkoopaunion ( 873659 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:39AM (#16015262)
      How about we see some more durable drives in larger sizes? Hell, I'd be willing to pay a premium for something I could rely on to take a beating.

      Well, In the back of most free city papers, you can find all sorts of ads for businesses which provide the services described...
    • Do you even own one? (Score:5, Informative)

      by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <`gro.daetsriek' `ta' `todhsals'> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:42AM (#16015281) Homepage
      This comment sounds like someone who always talks about "how durable" these drives are withotu actually owning one.

      I have has my 512 MB thumb drive go through the wash no less than 3 times. I have had it dropped, stepped on countless times. Never once have I lost data and it still wokrs fine to this day.

      Flash drives **are durable**, much more so than any DVDR or CDR are. Lexar even makes a hardened case version that can be run over with a car.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
        My 1GB drive has been through the washer-dryer three times and still appears to work fine. The wash cycle covers it in water, and the dryer then gives it a healthy dose of static electricity.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 )
        You already have a post above yours from someone that has owned several and generally had problems.

        I would expect it to be a lot more durable than a DVD or CD - these things cost a lot more! A DVD blank is under $1. There are 16GB thumb drives but they cost $750. I think the 4GB drives are around $100, which is about 100x the cost per GB. I expect the more expensive device to be a lot more durable.

        The usage is a lot different too, not too many people tried carrying optical discs in their pockets, but t
    • by eht ( 8912 )
      The current ones are pretty durable, I recently thought I misplaced or lost the 1GB SanDisk Cruzer micro I have, as I was thinking about maybe getting a replacement my neighbor comes by and asks me if I had lost a flash drive, turns out it was mine and his kid had found it, one side of the rubber sleeve that is on it had turned completely clear from a flourescent pink color and there are a couple patches of what might be rust, so it had been sitting outside for a while for the sun to bleach it like that, t
    • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:48AM (#16015345)
      I want to murder the engineers who designed the flash drives that the strap attaches to the CAP. What were they thinking?
    • by kid_oliva ( 899189 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @10:10AM (#16015517) Homepage
      I can't help myself... with a strong rubber boot that fits snuggly around it, especially if you're active, pay a premium for something I could rely on to take a beating
      That's what she said!!!
    • Let's face it, most "keychain" drives are flimsy affairs made of plastic, with tops that pop off easily--hardly the kind of thing you want to carry around every day in your pocket (especially if you're active). I wouldn't every want to drop these things, much less think of them going through the wash or getting banged around by my keys.

      I have a SanDisk 512MB stick that has been washed and dried no less than 3 times and it still works perfectly. I'm impressed actually.

      • I had one go through the drier with the heat on 'high' and the casing fused to the drum. Now I'm left with nothing but the guts. Still works great, tho!
    • Our department just ordered usb thumbdrives for all of us from Newegg (Kingmax 1GB). These things are pretty nifty (size of a piece of Trident chewing gum... the whole thing is the usb connector). We wanted something ultra durable and something that would actually fit on a keychain (and no caps to lose) and we read reviews about how people ran these through washing machines so we gave them a try.

      They've been pretty good and durable so far (about a month) and were on the cheap (under $20 a piece) but they
    • The JumpDrive sport is great, I've been using it for years now. However, the rubber footy that is so great at holding it in place on your keychain is the same rubber piece that actually attaches to your keychain. Since the rubber isn't the strongest of materials, mine eventually cracked down the center, and it fell off of my keychain at some point and is now lost in oblivion.
    • by johneee ( 626549 )
      I have a Kingmax that has no cap, no metal shroud around the USB connector (which just means you have to remember which way is up) and no hollow body around it. It's pretty much just a solid piece of plastic, which means there's nothing really to compress and break. http://www.kingmaxdigi.com/product/superstick.htm [kingmaxdigi.com]

      I've stepped on it, washed it, and it lives on my keychain, so it's always been beat up all to heck, but it still works fine.

      Plus, it's kind of cute.
  • by Langfat ( 953252 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:33AM (#16015204) Homepage
    Just think how frustrated you get when you lose your keys at the moment...now imagine 16gb going missing with them!
  • Pardon me (Score:3, Funny)

    by with_him ( 815684 ) * on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:34AM (#16015212)
    Is that a Flash Drive in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me.
  • ...like maybe $150 at the MOST - i'll stick with buying the small external USB harddrives. Ok so the hard drives are bigger, but they still fit in most of my pockets *and* I get 80 gig.... for easily less than $100.
    • by mgblst ( 80109 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:41AM (#16015275) Homepage
      It will be at least $400 I would say, since they mention at 64gig drive for $1600 in the article. It will possibly be more, since it is smaller and a "limited edition".

      Not sure why it is "limited edition", since surely we are just going to see bigger and bigger USB drives, as we have in the past.
      • $400? For an extra one hundred you can get a 100gb PVR [amazon.com] I understand flash memory is more expensive than a real hard drive, but it's not like hard drives are incredibly huge or unreliable in most cases, that cool factor surely diminishes when you are paying a bunch of extra money just to have it on your keychain versus putting it in your pocket.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BunnyClaws ( 753889 )

      ...like maybe $150 at the MOST - i'll stick with buying the small external USB harddrives. Ok so the hard drives are bigger, but they still fit in most of my pockets *and* I get 80 gig.... for easily less than $100.

      I agree why would I want to buy something that only stores 16 gigs for over a $150? Besides what would I store on it, Music? No, I can store more than 16 gigs on my MP3 player. If I need a big portable storage for data I will spend the money on an external USB drive. The 16 gigs is to much for a

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This would be perfect for all those times when I've had to repair a computer and the OS has been completely fubared but I still need to try to repair or save settings and files.
    • I backed up my files to my flash drive, and then left it in the USB port and proceeded to upgrade Solaris. It kept complaining that my primary boot drive was only 512M and only had 15M free. I thought something was fuxx0r3d with my partition table, until I saw what the mount point was... At least now I know my box can boot from USB, that may come in handy, given a sufficiently sad set of circumstances.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      We use the PNY 4GB's at work to contain a Ghost image for our standard workstation image, XPSP2 + Hotfixes + Office 2k3 + More Hotfixes + Standard Apps = almost 2GB exactly, then we have the other post-install files hanging around w/ room to spare.

      Right now we are using BartPE (XPE) to boot XPSP2 and run Ghost, I'm looking at putting Bart on the USB drive too, if possible.
  • Too long (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:41AM (#16015274) Journal
    What would you do with 16GB in your pocket?

    Probably sit on it and break it. 8 cm long? Not short enough to prevent bending it should I sit on something that could act as a lever... like the edge of a subway seat.
    • I just pulled out my USB flash drive and my ruler. My current, standard-sized flash drive is 7cm X 2cm X 1cm. One extra cm, 14% longer, doesn't seem that big. Or did I miss something?
  • by ThatDamnMurphyGuy ( 109869 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:41AM (#16015276) Homepage
    Please, for the children, use TrueCrypt.
  • Are these things durable? That is, do stray static charges or magnetic fields clobber them at all?
  • by in2mind ( 988476 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:44AM (#16015305) Homepage
    What would you do with 16GB in your pocket?

    Windows Vista Service Pack 1 !

  • by bestinshow ( 985111 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:45AM (#16015316)
    "But at 16gb you could keep a good bit of your life there, provided you aren't working in audio or video. I keep a 1GB stick on my keychain which is enough for almost anything."

    Two years ago it would have been:

    But at 1GB you could keep a good bit of your life there, provided you aren't working in audio or video. I keep a 64MB stick on my keychain which is enough for almost anything.

    Four years ago it would have been:

    But at 64MB you could keep a good bit of your life there, provided you aren't working in audio or video. The convenience would make this a useful investment and allow us to throw the good old floppy away for good.

    In 2010 it'll be:

    But at 512GB you could keep a good bit of your life there. I keep a 32GB stick on my keychain which is enough for almost anything.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Filik ( 578890 )
      Actually I think we could scratch "audio" now that we are at 16Gb. You _can_ keep a good bit of your audio life within 16Gb. 4000 mp3's or 400 recordings/podcasts.
  • by Gopal.V ( 532678 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:46AM (#16015329) Homepage Journal
    From the TFA:

    > Vista will be able to boot off flash drives and, just possibly, U3 flash drives will turn PCs into thin clients.

    I predict a return of the boot virus and you won't even know you're carrying it to every box, just because the last one didn't boot right. And btw, Vista can also walk your dog, make breakfast and do your homework - just like it used to be able to do WinFS and so many other wonderful things which later got pulled.

    Once as an experiment, I turned on BOOTP on my linux server in office and loaded up a 14 Mb initrd into the tftpd, during the weekend. To my surprise, on monday half the office machines were booting into a linux command line and all the administrators were tearing their hair out.

    Secondly, most offices I know are starting to disable their USB connectors and some of the better ones are disabling the USB data pins (ipods still charge, but no copying). 16 Gb is a lot of data that can be pulled out of a place, especially with something which is magnet free (most of these places have scanners for magnetic media).

    But it is a limited edition drive right now ... till people actually work out the possibilities, once it starts getting popular.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jonwil ( 467024 )
      The problem with disabling USB is that more and more machines (especially from the big OEMs) use USB for both keyboard and mouse (my home machine uses USB for mouse and PS2 for keyboard). So you cant completly disable USB.
  • I keep a 1GB stick on my keychain which is enough for almost anything.
    Famous last words. Remember the days - not too long ago - when a floppy drive was "enough".
    The truth is that with video capture devices becoming cheap, and consumer generated content and sharing fast becoming a social trend, I'm sure you'll hear about a 16GB personal drive being not "enough" pretty soon!
  • by Dekortage ( 697532 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:49AM (#16015352) Homepage
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  • A limited edition? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Klaidas ( 981300 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:49AM (#16015355)
    So, it's a *limited edition*?
    Considering "640K shoudl be enough for everyone", we'll be carrying 32GB flashier soon, and the 16GB limited edition won't be anything special :)
  • At 8x2 cm it's not the smallest thing to attach to a keychain.
    But it's two-dimensional! No, wait. It's even one-dimensional!
  • Flash Drive OS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by neo ( 4625 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:55AM (#16015404)
    It would be nice to get someone to create a flash drive built for the purpose of an OS. It would have to be more urable than a normal flash drive because of the amount of data involved. Current drives simply don't last long enough under that kind of pressure.

    When you're talking about 16GBs, you could almost do away with your normal hard drive and use web based drives for storage. Portable computers would be lighter. Perhaps you could even increase the speed of the drive with caching (perhaps it's already done...).

    I'd like a flash drive I could put my OS on and not worry about it's data integrity.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      You already can install on os on you flash drive. SLAX [slax.org] would definitely be my favorite, since it has KDE, rather than one of the "light" window managers in Puppy, DSL, and the other small live distros use. I even found some directions [newsforge.com] so you can leave it as Fat.

      You can have SLAX load to ram if you have about 512mb available. As for writing files, I believe that all writes are writen to RAM and when you shut down you are given the option of making writes permanent.

  • From the Toshiba press release:

    "On insertion into a PC, all the U3(TM) models automatically launch the U3(TM) Launchpad software integrated into the memory, which presents the user with a list of programs to choose from and files to work with."

    So I'm guessing this is pretty much useless with my Linux boxes...
    Sounds like a good thing.

  • Replacement (Score:2, Funny)

    by tritonman ( 998572 )
    This would be a great replacement for the 12 inch dongle that's in my pocket currently... er, I mean 12 GB dongle.
  • by bazorg ( 911295 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @10:04AM (#16015471) Homepage
    What would you do with 16GB in your pocket?
    Besides carrying my files in it, I plug in my headphones and listen to music while I'm working out.
  • by JPFitting ( 990912 ) <communicate@jpfitting.com> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @10:04AM (#16015476) Homepage Journal
    When will they learn that this is not what we want. We want things that work, and work for a long time. I am sick of buying things that break after a few years. My grandmother has a vacumn cleaner that has worked for over 20 years. I honestly have yet to find a vacumn cleaner these days that work beyond a few years. I don't care about bigger and better, I care about smarter and tougher. Unless documents become over 5 megabytes a file, I will not spend my money on this. I will spend that same money and a few extra bucks to get a LaCie external hard drive.
  • When Kanguru has introduced a 64GB flash drive (measures 1.5 x 2.5 x 9.2 cm). Link to it here [tigerdirect.com].

    For me at least, the huge $2,799 USD price tag will keep it out of my pocket for at least a little while. But one thing's for sure: prices always come down. Wonder what this will go for this time next year.
    • Great, except it will take you 18 hours to fill it up, since the write speed is only 1MB/s (according to the page).
  • Now is a good time (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Brunellus ( 875635 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @10:09AM (#16015511) Homepage

    ....for flash storage in notebooks. I for one would LOVE a notebook with "only" 16 GB of storage...provided that 16 GB was flash. No spinning motors and platters means a more useful, portable device.

  • OLD NEWS (Score:5, Informative)

    by dbrez8 ( 999142 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @10:12AM (#16015529)
    Kanguru has had a 16GB drive out for over 3 months. Why is this interesting new news? http://www.kanguru.com/flashdrive_max.html [kanguru.com]
  • transfer rate? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by waffleman ( 697097 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @10:12AM (#16015530)
    Most folks that I know use usb flash drives for backup and sneaker-net transfer. I wonder what the tranfer rate will be on this. Filling a 1G drive right now takes a fair while. If the transfer rates don't go up, having all that extra space doesn't really help you in a practical -I need to get this copy done and catch the bus in 10 minutes- kind of way.
  • http://www.kanguru.com/flashdrive_max.html [kanguru.com]

    Of course it's $2800 US from TigerDirect.
  • At 16GB, it's starting to be large enough to be a useful replacement for a 2.5" hard drive. Lower power, heat and noise and zero seek. If they can get 16GB under $100US, I'll buy one.
    • useful replacement for a 2.5" hard drive

      Would it really? What is the lifespan on these things in read/write cycle terms? Showing my own ignorance here, but I've been concerned that flash just doesn't have what it takes it you are doing lots of read/write/erase/over-write actions. I have an idea for a fanless embedded device (where I have no real expeience) that will have a bunch of read/writes and I'm torn between the tradeoff of lots of heat but reliable HDD and low-heat but worse MTBF of flash (or s
  • It's not the size of your dongle it's how us use it.
  • I have USB drives that are limited to 130 entries in a folder regardless of size. I hope these big drives overcome that.
  • USB 2.0 is soooooooooo slow... I had to move about 35GB of data via USB 2.0 yesterday and it took about 40 minutes... With capacities going ever higher, why aren't we seeing more FireWire thumbdrives?
  • 16Gb of storage would allow you to hold the text of about 40,000 average length paperback books.
  • With computers controlling large buildings, you want the things to be as reliable as possible. Use two of the things as read-only partitions for the acual code and data and run the system itself on a RAM disk. More reliable than a CD, I suspect.


  • Have I missed something or is this device [kanguru.com] already holding 4x what TFA describes?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "But at 16 GB you could keep a good bit of your life there,"

    Yea, if you're an empty shell of a human being.
  • by objekt ( 232270 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @10:58AM (#16015889) Homepage
    ...rather it's..umm...I got nothing.

  • Easy - since most PCs I come across let you boot from USB in BIOS, I'd keep a copy of every damned Linux Distro (and a few Warez Windows versions) so I could install whatever OS I choose on any spare machine I get my grubby hands on.
  • It seems silly to carry around a ton of gadgets when maybe one or two of them would suffice. There is no sense of style in having a belt full of devices or bag with five different gadget in it that weighs a ton. I say, opt for what you've already got. Take me for example. I have one of the excellent Rio Karma music players. It's functionality within Linux as a USB drive is finally "getting there". So much so that the proprietary partition type has made it into the mainline kernel. So instead of havin
  • You can never carry around too many portable applications.

    Although most portable app are for Linux (or have both Linux and Window versions). Few Windows apps are portable because (I think) Windows developers are piss poor developers. One look at the registry of the average Windows PC proves my point. Creating portable and easily editable config files seem to be beyond the skills of most Windows developers.
  • ... or are you pleased to see me?

The IBM 2250 is impressive ... if you compare it with a system selling for a tenth its price. -- D. Cohen