Smart Drives from U3 which are launched today sound like a cracking idea. Basically the company has taken so called dumb USB keys that are only used for storage and enabled them to also host applications as well as data.
So for example you’ll be able to carry round with you your MP3-playing software, your chat client, or your virus protection and use them on whichever PC you want. Apparently once a U3 smart drive is removed from a computer, all windows close, leaving no personal information behind on the PC.
The launch blurb is quite impressive. "Computing will never be the same after today’s launch. This will mark the first available plug-and-play way for consumers to carry and access their personal workspace without having to lug a laptop around," said U3 Chief Executive Officer Kate Purmal. "Whether on the home or office PC; a computer at a family member or a friend’s house; hotel business centre; print shop or Internet café, consumers will enjoy the ability to check email; edit a document; view photos; play a game; listen to music from their playlist; or surf the Web, in a safe and trusted environment that’s truly mobile and all stored in just one place."
However the list of smart applications doesn’t include big names like Microsoft Office software or iTunes so the concept still has some way to go yet. There’s a list of applications you can use after the turn.
The U3 smart drives start shipping from 15 October, 2005 and brands who are obeying the technology include; Memorex, SanDisk, Verbatim and Cleverstuff disgo.
· AOL – Winamp media player for music, video, radio, TV and podcasting
Cerulean Studios – Trillian is a fully featured, stand-alone, skinnable chat client that supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, and IRC
U3 Anti-Virus – Based on McAfee VirusScan technology, U3 Anti-Virus detects and removes viruses, worms, and Trojans, automatically scanning the USB smart drive and the memory of the computer to which it connects, to ensure the U3 drive is protected against security threats which may result in the loss or damage of documents and data
Powerhouse Technologies Group – Migo software automatically synchronises files, folders, Outlook email, favourites and more to a U3 smart drive for use on any computer
Skype – offers consumers free, superior-calling worldwide
Party Poker – the world’s largest poker room where people can play poker with others around the world
Zinio Systems – Zinio transform print editions of magazines and textbooks from the world’s leading publishers including Ziff Davis, VNU, Time, and McGraw-Hill into a compelling interactive digital form, which can be launched from a U3 smart drive.