A journal from USB Holic

History of Cool Flash Drives and Nand Memory Chips

History of Cool Flash Drives and Nand Memory Chips

I got my first USB Flash Drive while attending a campus job fair in my student days and this technical startup offered the students who visited their booth, a cool USB stick which carried a boot-and-run Ubuntu OS configuration.Of course, I later formatted it and used it for my personal use. At the time, I had little understanding and use of that boot-and-run Ubuntu OS. I did not even know how to operate Ubuntu, so I simply erased the contents and used the USB flash drive for storing my personal stuff.

Of course, I later formatted it and used it for my personal use. At the time, I had little understanding and use of that boot-and-run Ubuntu OS. I did not even know how to operate Ubuntu, so I simply erased the contents and used the USB flash drive for storing my personal stuff.I really liked the portability and ease of operation of a flash drive. That made me curious to go through the history of flash drives and that’s how I came across this interesting information on Cool USB Drives and Nand Memory Chips.

I really liked the portability and ease of operation of a flash drive. That made me curious to go through the history of flash drives and that’s how I came across this interesting information on cool flash drives and Nand Memory Chips.

My first learning of flash drives history was that a flash drive is relatively a much recent invention, as recent as the late 1990s. It was in the year 2000 that the first generation of flash drive was manufactured and sold on a commercial scale, by IBM and Trek Technologies.

Though, the invention and patent rights of the technology are much fogged up in the recorded history and quite a controversial subject.

If we look beyond the commercial use of flash drives, we learn that Toshiba, in the early 1080s, first developed the flash memory technology, on which premise the flash drive works. Flash memory (programmable read-only Memory or PROM) has two variants – EEPROM and EPROM. The main distinguishable characteristic of the two is that while EPROM (Erasable PROM) could be erased with the exposure to UV rays, EEPROM (Electronically Erasable PROM) had to be connected electronically to be erased. The EEPROM chip is inspired by NAND logic gate (the other one being NOR).

NAND flash architecture is primarily used in the memory chip in flash drives and other electronic gadgets as storage. NAND memory chips are largely popular due to their capacity of handling a high volume of data sets. It is a non-volatile storage technology, commonly referred to as “NAND Flash technology”.

Flash memory technology stores the data in a series of cells made up of floating-gate transistors. Initially, the individual cell's data handling capacity was up to 1-bit of information. That limited its performance.

Recent developments in this field have made it possible to break free from that limitation and allow higher data handling capacity by using multilevel cell technology.
The memory is stored in flash card by way of storing electrical charge and releasing accordingly during data exchange. Making it a sort of binary mechanism, 0100111010110, for the machine to interpret it and respond appropriately.

In the entire process, voltage plays a key role in storing, interpreting and erasing the data on a flash card. The voltage applied sets each cell to a certain binary value, and thus the data is stored on the flash drive. Now to delete or erase that data, an equal amount of voltage is applied, but of opposite polarity. That is how the data is stored or erased on a flash drive or memory chip.

Other developments in the technology have made the flash drives and chips sleeker, without compromising the data handling capacity. The increasing popularity of flash drive has volumes to say about its utility features and how it has become a commonplace computer accessory.

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