USB Memory Drives: Beyond Simply Storage

Upping the ante in what has become the de facto replacement for the floppy drive, these two offerings from IBM and Iomega bring self-running apps and security to a saturated market.

The floppy disk is so dead that most people have stopped declaring that its dead. One of the culprits is the USB memory drive, which lets you carry far more data in a device small enough to stick in a pocket or use as a keychain. But while these storage accessories have become commodities, companies such as IBM and Iomega are adding security and self-running apps to differentiate their offerings.

The IBM 256MB USB 2.0 Memory Key ($149 direct) includes a security utility called KeySafe, which lets you partition the drive into sizes of your choosing and password-protect the second partition. So if the module goes astray, your data is secure.

The Memory Key can also act as the boot disk for computers for diagnostics (a boon for IT personnel), or you can have it run simple applications automatically when inserted into a running PC. Its also about the thinnest USB storage drive available, which can be important if another device is wedged into an adjacent USB port.

For the whole story, check out the PC Magazine article.