Intel and Micron have developed a new 34nm NAND flash memory technology that is capable of 3 bits per cell, which allows for greater density than the standard 2 bits per cell technology currently in use, the two companies announced this week.. According to Micron, this will pave the way for high-capacity USB flash drives.
Micron also said the technology isn't yet as reliable as flash memory based on 2 bits per cell technology. Because of this, the 3 bits per cell chips will only be used in the manufacturer of flash drives that don't require the data storage reliability of an SSD.
"The chip is not for all markets," claims Jim Handy of semiconductor market researcher Objective Analysis. "The companies explained that they need more experience in production volumes before they will be confident to position it as a chip suitable for the high-write environment of the SSD."
Micron said the chips will be in mass production in the fourth quarter.
You can never have enough USB ports, but when it comes to wireless devices, wouldn't it be groovy if they all ran off of a single USB dongle? We certainly think so, and so does Logitech, who today announced the release of its Unifying Receiver.
Logitech's Unifying Receiver lets multiple wireless gadgets communicate with the host PC through a single USB dongle, and to kick off the proprietary technology, Logitech announced four compatible products. These include the Wireless Keyboard K350, Wireless Keyboard K340, Marathon Mouse M705, and Wireless Mouse M505.
As is the case with other Logitech wireless products, the new devices each use 2.4GHz wireless connectivity, but they no longer each need their own dongle. The Unifying Receiver further saves space by only protruding 8mm.
Up to six compatible devices can be connected at the same time, with each subsequent peripheral needing to be configured using Logitech's Unifying software. All devices connect securely using 128-bit AES encryption, and they work with Windows 7, Logitech says.
Active Media Products, makers of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Penguin and Panda USB drives, has added to its Penguin line with a bootable Linux USB (BLU) drive that the company says is compatible with Windows 7.
"These bootable Linux USB drives are handy for users who need flexibility in an OS, and will be an invaluable tool for disaster recovery and system maintenance," Active Media stated in a press release.
Designed in the likeness of an emperor penguin with "exacting detail," the new drives come in 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB capacities, each one pre-loaded with the full installation of Ubuntu Linux 9.0.4., which occupies about 700MB of space.
The drives are available now ranging in price from $13 (1GB) to $44 (16GB), with 5 percent of the retail price donated to World Wildlife Fund.
It took some time, but motherboard makers and case manufacturers have finally wised up to the concept of never having enough USB ports. It's not uncommon to see motherboards equipped with 8 USB ports, and it would take six of said motherboards to still not equal the number of ports on the 49-port Professional USB-2 Hub.
The mega-hub supports the USB 2.0 specification and includes a "separate transaction translator for every port." Each port independently comes with its own Vbus current limit, and multiple rail regulators and localized clock generators keep errant signals from mucking with data transfers.
"We engineered this professional-grade product for dependability and performance first, aimed squarely at the business user - not as a cost-driven commercial product," UK developer Cambrionix stated on the USB hub's product page.
Even still, we could see this filling a niche in the power user segment, though probably not at the £399 (about $660 USD) asking price. Can anyone else imagine stuffing the entire line of Transformers USB keys into this?
I’m having a blue-screen problem on a T42p ThinkPad with 2GB of RAM running Windows XP Pro SP2. This is a corporate laptop issued to me as a mobile employee, so I have admin rights to it.
Every time I plug a USB device into either of the laptop’s two USB ports, it blue-screens. As long as the device is plugged in, the laptop loops through a boot process to a blue screen. Once I unplug the USB device, it behaves. Exceptions: If I put a USB power cable into the ports in the laptop for power only, there is no problem. I have a PCMCIA USB adapter too, and anything I plug into these USB ports works fine.
This PCMCIA USB adapter has a USB power cable, which I plug into the USB port in the laptop without incident. I have the PCMCIA USB adapter plugged into the PCMCIA slot, with a seven-port USB hub plugged into it running a printer, a wireless mouse, a keyboard, and a hard drive. I have a second hard drive’s data cable plugged into the USB hub, while its power cord is plugged into the laptop’s USB port, with no problem.
When I called the corporate help desk, they assumed I had a bad motherboard and sent me a replacement laptop. Same problem but worse. The new laptop, which was a 1GB machine, did not recover when the USB port was unplugged. I had to do disc recovery involving file and index cleanup to get it to behave. I went through this several times.
I used the same boot drive, which I had to transfer back and forth, on both laptops.
Fortunately, when I returned the hard drive to the old laptop, it worked the same as it had originally. I have returned the “new” replacement laptop since it did me no good, keeping the original laptop.
I’m to the point of reinstalling the OS, but I don’t have access to the corporate image without driving 90 miles, and at this point, I’m leery of just installing a different OS copy, with a different serial number.
If you're like me, your USB key should come with its own flame retardant coating. That's because I tend to use my little four-gigabyte device to great excess on a near-daily basis. It's an easy fix for transferring files from a desktop PC to a laptop, and it's great for carrying batches of files I need to access (especially if I'm without an Internet connection, making Dropbox useless). If I'm heading over to a friend's house, I can slap a movie on the drive for us to watch on an attached PC or home theater device. I can throw down a game or two if I'm going to be travelling and don't feel like reading about overpriced devices that will pet my cat for me. USB keys are more than just a geek's trusty friends. They're uber-tools in their own right.
Application suites for USB keys are another popular way of extending the functionality of your desktop into the portable realm. Install these batches of software and you can take your favorite programs along with you wherever you go--perfect for when you're using a computer that isn't yours, yet you would prefer to be able to access to a better range of apps than Windows' default programs. Better still, you can stick these batches of applications on smaller USB keys to extend the life of these sub-gigabyte devices. The storage might stink, but the functionality will rule.
Click the jump to check out five, freeware application suites that will dazzle up your USB key faster than you can say, "universal serial bus."
We'll admit that a soundcard isn't the first thing that came to mind when we heard you could order the "Tube Delight" online. But that's exactly what it is, and it's the funkiest USB audio solution we've ever seen.
The portable PC soundcard comes encased in a transparent vacuum tube with a fade-in-out blue LED for power-on and idle status indication. It supports 16-bit 16KHz/32KHz/48KHz recording and playback with both rated at THD+N -73dB and SNR 85dB, and comes with the obligatory 3.5mm headphone and microphone ports.
Hong Kong vendor Brando has the USB soundcard on sale now for $32, which is as cheap as you'll ever find anyone selling anything having to do with a Tube Delight.
The going rate on a 16GB USB flash drive is anywhere from $30 on the lower end up to around $80 on higher end models, and we've even spotted a pair of Kingston drives selling for just shy of $300 on Newegg. But a $10,000 USB drive? That's a first for us.
Not yet available for purchase, the exorbitantly priced USB drive comes from SolidAlliance Mnemosyne, and not only will it tax your wallet, but your mind as well. That's because the drive comes housed in an aluminum puzzle cube that must first be solved before you can get to those digital files stored inside.
"Our USB Flash Drive is similar to a puzzle where the memory is housed in the inner part of the body," Mnemosyne explains. "Without disassembling the puzzle, you will never be able to access the memory that is stored inside. And once you store your unforgettable memory there, you mush assemble the cube."
While Windows 7, unlike Vista, runs well on netbooks, there are two big problems that must be overcome to make Windows 7 easy to install on netbooks:
Most netbooks lack CD or DVD drives
Netbooks run Windows XP or Linux, neither of which are supported for upgrade installations of Windows 7
As far as problem number one is concerned, there may be a solution: Cnet's Ina Fried reports that Microsoft is mulling over the idea of providing Windows 7 on USB thumbdrives to make upgrading netbooks easier without connecting an external CD or DVD drive. As we demonstrated earlier this year, you can install Windows 7 from a USB key after a bit of finagling. Creating a version of Windows 7 that's USB key-friendly would make the process a lot easier for clean installs.
However, what about Windows XP netbook users who want an easy upgrade? Fried reports that Best Buy's Geek Squad is looking at developing Windows 7 upgrade services.
Windows 7 does include Windows Easy Transfer to move user accounts, email, and data files from Windows Vista or XP systems, but is there a better solution that also works with programs? How about Linux netbook users? Any apps or scripts that can at least get the data over to Windowsland safely? We're looking for better suggestions for making the move from Windows XP or Linux on a netbook or other PC to Windows 7 as painless as possible for non-technical users. Think simple, think reliable, and join us after the jump to pass them along.
Want to make a lasting impression at the next Junior Republican Convention? Just tell everyone you have the President in your pocket, and you don't even have to fib about it thanks to Active Media, makers of the WWF Penguin and Panda USB drives. The USB manufacturer today adds the 8GB Obama USB drive to its growing lineup of unique flash media.
"The drive is loaded with content to explore. We've more than doubled the bonus content compared to our original Obama drive," noted Jerry Thomson, vice president of marketing at Active Media Products. "This historically important product is offered at a time when the country celebrates its 233 year birthday."
More specifically, the 8GB USB drives comes pre-loaded with 80MB of material ranging from high resolution phots of President Obama and the First Lady, to over two hours of speeches in MP3 format. Also included are several speeches in PDF form.
Both the original 2GB and newer 8GB capacities are available now for $10 and $30, respectively.