Geekspeak: August 5, 2002

SanDisk Cruzer thumb-drive earns a thumbs up.

During the past few years, flash memory has begun appearing in more and more places. Thumb-drive-type devices, for example, pair a chunk of flash memory with a USB interface, generally for ferrying personal data or large files among computers. I havent gotten very excited over thumb drives, however. The devices often cant be upgraded, and the 16MB that suits your needs now is guaranteed to seem unacceptably meager next year. Also, thumb drives generally ignore handheld computers—prime clients for mobile data—since almost no handhelds feature USB ports.

However, SanDisks Cruzer device is starting to brighten my thumb-drive outlook. Cruzer looks like other thumb drives but carries a removable SD (Secure Digital) or MultiMedia Card instead of a fixed amount of nonupgradable flash memory glued into its case. I tested Cruzer with Windows XP and Mac OS X machines; it worked well without driver installation on both systems.

SanDisk sells four Cruzer configurations that range in price from $60 for a Cruzer that comes bundled with a 32MB SD Card to $200 for one that comes with a 256MB SD Card. Check out for more information.