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Memorex sparks USB flash drive into life

The storage media specialist unveils a USB 2.0 flash memory storage device that's small enough to be clipped to a key ring.

Memorex Products on Tuesday launched a flash memory storage device that's the size of a cigarette lighter and that comes with ergonomic features.

The storage media specialist said the USB 2.0 ThumbDrive, which measures three inches long and just over an inch wide, is the slimmest product in its category. It fits onto a key ring and has a rubber grip area contoured to fingers.

The drive has a built-in data protection switch to prevent unintentional deletion, according to Memorex. The lock is not software dependent, unlike most other data protection technology in Universal Serial Bus (USB) flash drives, the Santa Fe Springs, Calif.-based company said.

Portable flash memory storage devices have grown in popularity over the past few years. They can store large amounts of data and can be used as removable hard drives for PCs, often simply by being plugged directly into a USB port in the computer.

The new ThumbDrive reads data at 8MB per second, according to Memorex. It will be available in stores this month, priced at about $60 for 128MB of storage, $100 for 256MB and $180 for 512MB. A 1GB version is slated for early next year, the company said.