Computer Technology

How the term “pen drive” came to be?

It all began in 1998. The precursor of the pen drive was then called the flash drive. It was invented by M-systems, an Israeli company for IBM.  The intention of inventing the flash drive was to replace the floppy disk with a better and more compact memory device. Dov Moran, Amir Ban and  Oron Ogden were the 3 credited for inventing the flash drive. M-Systems got the patent for this device in 2000 under the title -Architecture of a USB-based flash disk. In 2000, IBM became the first company to start selling flash drives.

The first Flash drive developed by M-Systems was called disgo. Initially, flash drives or disgos had a capacity of 8 MB. Then, they started appearing in capacities up to 64 MB.

A subsequent improvement of the flash drive led to the invention of the pen drive by Pua-Khein-Seng of Malaysia. It was called a pen drive as it was shaped like a pen and even had a cap like a pen.

Pen drives are advanced improvements in flash drives. Both have the same function but subtle differences. A flash drive is in the form of a chip and has no mechanical elements. It can be used with a USB or even stored within a cell phone or computer. On the contrary, a pen drive can be used only externally to be plugged into the computer. It is a type of external flash drive.

A pen drive is used only for data storage and transfer. It uses a USB port with flash technology to read information. It is shaped like a pen with a cap. It is called a drive as it has a driver head that reads the information.

More about pen drives

The pen drive is a storage device that helps to retain information even when it is not connected to a power source. It uses flash technology and is non-volatile with data. It has a memory card of the NAND type that can be plugged into the USB port of the computer. It is rectangular and flat and shaped like a highlighter pen. The pen drive is a readable and writeable storage device that was intended to be used in place of a floppy or CD disk.

The pen drive has a PCB- or printed circuit board with a microchip. The PCB  acts as the flat base and gives the shape or form to the pen drive. The microprocessor chip reads or writes data with very less power. It uses EEPROM technology- electrically erasable programmable read-only memory. This EEPROM technology is a non-volatile memory technology which allows the contents to be written or erased using a pulse voltage.

When a pen drive is not connected to the USB port, it is idle and in a dormant state. When connected to the USB port, it gets activated. The USB port grants access to the pen drive to the computer’s internal files. Most of the pend drives are formatted using FAT 32 file systems. That is why almost all pen drives are compatible with any computer system. Using a specific software program, data is read or written to the pen drive.

Visiting card and credit card pen drives

Nowadays, pen drives are designed attractively as visiting card pen drives or credit card pen drives. The visiting card pen drive is like a Business card and can be customized to carry your name and company details like a visiting card. The credit card pen drive is shaped like an ATM card. Both are in wide use by companies for corporate gifting and sales promotion.