The exciting potential of USB sticks

Published on: 05/02/2007

In a wireless world is there a place for the mobile application device?

Flash memory devices commonly referred to as USB Memory sticks are nothing new, chances are if you own a PC you probably also own such a device; with typical prices of around £10 for 1Gb, its not difficult to see why they have replaced other devices as the portable storage media of choice.

What‘s new however is portable applications. These applications can be executed directly from a USB memory stick without requiring installation onto a PC, although there have been a number of implementation techniques for developing Portable applications, the U3 standard has become the commonly accepted industry standard.

U3 Smart drives already have a number of applications available for installation including email clients, photo editors, instant messaging and much more. Imagine not only carrying your photos around with you, but also your favourite application for editing them, allowing you to manipulate your images on any PC as if it were your own.

Obviously its still early days for this kind of technology, but its not unrealistic to suggest that soon people may not install applications on there computer, but instead use these portable applications for all their computing needs. Microsoft has already suggested a move to a different form of portable application technology with its Microsoft Live application suite, providing users with applications hosted over the Internet not requiring installation.

Internet based applications have the advantage of users not needing to carry anything with them, and with broadband uptake increasing it would seem that in the long term Internet based applications may provide the most benefit, however with 40% of the UK still not having Internet access, and a further 30% of those that do still relying on slow modem connections, certainly at this time USB memory stick based applications seem the most sensible to reach the widest audience. The addition of clever development techniques to fuse the two technologies (such as synchronisation of stored data with online data-sources) would undoubtedly improve the capabilities of both technologies preserving their usefulness for a long time to come.

In a world were data is shared wirelessly, the piece of mind bought by carrying your data in your pocket is invaluable, couple this with the knowledge that you will be able to manipulate your data, your way, anywhere and it seems clear that the mobile application device is here to stay.