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Kingston Unveils $1000 USB Flash Drive 119

Posted by samzenpus
from the because-they-can dept.
Barence writes "Kingston has unveiled the 'world's first' 256GB flash drive, raising flash drive storage to the kind of capacity you normally associate with laptop hard disks. Kingston claims the drive is 'ideal for netbook users who want to extend the limited capacity of their machines,' although given that the device costs about twice as much as a netbook, buyers could probably get more storage by purchasing two of the cheap ultraportables. The device is made on a build-to-order basis, with a suggested UK retail price of £650.52 including VAT — that's an astonishing $1074.69 at current exchange rates. Not exactly cheap and cheerful."

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Kingston Unveils $1000 USB Flash Drive

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  • by twidarkling (1537077) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:51PM (#28773859)

    If I'm spending that kind of cash, I wanna be able to drop it off a building and have it survive - after it's been run over by a tank. Otherwise, there's no point in using it on a regular basis as additional storage for something you're carrying around all the time.

    • by Dotren (1449427) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:56PM (#28773917)

      I agree. Furthermore, I'd want to know how heavy it is (I doubt it is very heavy at all but it does look rather beefy) as I carry usb flash drives around with me all the time at work. Then again, I'd be extremely leery of taking this anywhere. Should it get stolen or dropped somewhere, thats a rather large chunk of change gone.

      I can't imagine every buying one of these. If you need a mobile PC with that much hard drive space, why wouldn't you just get a normal laptop with some of the other nice features? I realize netbooks are ultra small and mobile but still...

    • by AuMatar (183847) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:04PM (#28773999)

      I actually did drop a corsair USB stick down a 14 story elevator shaft. Since it was on my keychain, I had them fish it out for me because I needed my keys. This was one of the models where the exterior is rubber. Anyway the cap had fallen off and the connector was bent. 30 seconds with a needle nose pliers to unbend it and I popped it into my computer to test it. It ran beautifully. It still works to this day.

      So if the outside is made of something soft, it may well survive the drop off of a building.

      • All my flash drives have been rubber coated. I've had three XPorter XT's over the years. I can't count the number of times I've dropped them in puddles, and been thankful for the rubber coating.

      • by shish (588640) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @07:59PM (#28776739) Homepage
        An interesting question for any physics geeks -- what's the terminal velocity of the average USB stick, and is that velocity terminal to the stick? If they're sufficiently light and air resisting I suspect you could drop one from space without damage...
        • by Jared555 (874152) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @08:41PM (#28777023)

          I think at that point you would be more concerned about
          1. The heat it endures during reentry and
          2. Finding it

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by ZosX (517789)

            1. Thermal tiles/Heat Shield.

            2. GPS / Homing Beacon Transmitter

            Also you might have a hard time finding a good LZ that isn't covered in water...so you might want to prepare for those thermal tiles to conveniently float.

            That would survive the drop from space. Terminal velocity would be far easier for it to survive. I'm too tired to do math, but you can find the equation here:

            http://www.vias.org/physics/example_1_6_08.html [vias.org]

            I'd imagine a lot of rubber padding would certainly be the key. (no pun intended)

            Apparent

        • Particles of dust can survive reentry because their mass is low compared with their surface area. There is a lot of meteoric dust in the upper atmosphere for this reason and it has been suggested that there would be less precipitation on Earth without meteoric dust to nucleate rain drops.

          That usb key is more massive than most of the bright meteors you might see in the night sky. It won't survive atmospheric entry, though building a heat shield around it probably wouldn't be difficult.
      • So if the outside is made of something soft, it may well survive the drop off of a building.

        Tell that to this guy [slashdot.org]..

      • >So if the outside is made of something soft, it may well survive the drop off of a building.
        Didn't help the poor Chinese/Apple/Foxconn guy.
    • I wanna be able to drop it off a building and have it survive - after it's been run over by a tank. Otherwise, there's no point in using it on a regular basis as additional storage for something you're carrying around all the time.

      Do you have 256GB worth of data as to how to avoid being run over a tank or something?

    • you mean like that rfid door opener in naked gun? [youtube.com]
    • by FunPika (1551249)
      No I want it to be able to survive being thrown off the International Space Station, survive re-entry, AND survive impact regardless of where it lands, even lava or the Challenger Deep.
      • And I might well survive. But if you dont use the remove hardware icon, sometimes it will be wiped!

        I forgot to safely remove once,(Eject for mactards) and the 4gig drive was wiped. Grrrr.

    • by Gordonjcp (186804)

      If I'm spending that kind of cash, I wanna be able to drop it off a building and have it survive

      If *I'm* spending that kind of cash, I want to buy a large box of 250GB USB hard disks and maintain a high degree of redundancy.

      • by harkabeeparolyn (711320) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @06:19PM (#28775843)
        ... size is. Put simply, for the first time 256 GB can comfortably fit inside a human anus. If you can't see a use for that, then you're not living your life nearly dangerously enough.
        • by HiThere (15173)

          But if you swallow it, can you sneak it through customs?

          • Better to just encrypt it and carry it through with the rest of your stuff. Hiding it in strange places is only going to pique security's interest.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by RockDoctor (15477)

              Better to just encrypt it and carry it through with the rest of your stuff. Hiding it in strange places is only going to pique security's interest.

              What's "strange" about stuffing it up your hole? Make the ablative "survive fall from space" coating (see my comment up-thread) in a Caucasian pink, Asian brown, or African "black" ("umber" would be more appropriate? not that it's a precise colour) ; make the "aerodynamic drag" shape so that it won't disappear up your rectum. Carry a spare in your briefcase.
              [Secu

  • Article Summary FAIL.
  • by theelectron (973857) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:54PM (#28773897)

    given that the device costs about twice as much as a netbook, buyers could probably get more storage by purchasing two of the cheap ultraportables

    What kind of flash netbooks are you buying with that much storage?

  • US Military (Score:5, Funny)

    by Absolut187 (816431) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:56PM (#28773921) Homepage

    The US military has already placed an order for 500,000 of these.

    Each one will be used to store just one file: a 500 kilobyte PDF file that contains a soldier's manual for shining shoes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bertoelcon (1557907)

      The US military has already placed an order for 500,000 of these.

      Each one will be used to store just one file: a 500 kilobyte PDF file that contains a soldier's manual for shining shoes.

      And of course all military computers have usb locked out anyway, so you couldn't use it in any military sense anyway.

      Just another day in the uses for the tax dollar.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:57PM (#28773925) Journal

    It's the first 256 GB USB flash stick, not the first 256GB flash drive. There are half a dozen 256GB flash-based SSDs out there that attach via SATA. The only thing that makes this even slightly relevant is the form factor.

    • by Bakkster (1529253)

      And for 256GB, the $1000 price tag is roughly in line with current thumb drive pricing. It is slightly higher due to the additional cost of fitting that much memory in a small form factor.

      If you need (very) large capacity portable storage, this could be worth it to you.

    • It should come with an eSATA adapter on the other end of the stick. Like this one.

      http://www.kanguru.com/eflash.html [kanguru.com]

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:57PM (#28773931)

    Pricewatch has 64GB usb sticks at $150 at cheapest (happens to be a kingston now too):
    http://www.pricewatch.com/browse/flash_card_memory/usb_64gb [pricewatch.com]

    and that's not even the sweetspot of GB/$$ because the 32GB usb sticks are around $60, much less than half that despite being only half the capacity.

    Also, a 2.5" 256 SSD drive that can be put into most notebooks starts at $608:
    http://www.pricewatch.com/browse/hard_removable_drives/ssd_256gb [pricewatch.com]

    So why would anyone buy a more expensive USB stick to "extend their notebook" when they can do so internal to the notebook, for cheaper, and have all the benefits of a SSD drive?

    • by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:06PM (#28774025)
      Or you could get a 500 GB HDD for under $100 that will still be much faster than the memory stick -- and will cost you 5% of the price per GB, you would really have to be a fool to buy one of those things right now.

      http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136314 [newegg.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dgatwood (11270)

        Agreed. You have to move to SATA-based SSDs for flash to be a speed win. USB just doesn't cut it for serious storage, both in terms of CPU overhead and in terms of maximum throughput. Of course, if you're moving stuff back and forth between two machines, the alternative is probably a USB external drive that has all the same performance problems. FireWire is much better in both respects. And, of course, eSATA is better still, but is relatively rare.

      • you would really have to be a fool to buy one

        One could say that about almost anything. As long as no one is making you buy one, or prohibiting someone else from buying one, it all works out.
      • by HiThere (15173)

        Depends on your purpose. Since each one is being hand-built I'd rather assume that Kingston doesn't see a large market, and for some purposes this might be approaching ideal.

        N.B.: It's both much smaller and much lighter than that hard drive you talked about. It also uses a lot less power. It's true you're paying a high premium for those factors, but not exorbitant.

      • by TOGSolid (1412915)
        Damn, beat me to it. My first thought when I read the comment about using one of these sticks to "extend the limited capacity of their machines (netbooks)" was somewhere along the lines of "wait wat?" I could easily put a 500 GB HD in my netbook, and my primary laptop has two 500 GB 7200 RPM HDs in a RAID 1 in it. Why the hell would I need a 1000 dollar USB stick?

        Why not just get a cheap external HD? Western Digital makes some great ones.
    • by babyrat (314371)

      So why would anyone buy a more expensive USB stick to "extend their notebook" when they can do so internal to the notebook, for cheaper, and have all the benefits of a SSD drive?

      Why would anyone buy a 64GB memory stick when they can buy a 500GB 2.5" drive for the same price?

      Perhaps once someone has purchased the 256GB SSD drive and installed it into their notebook, they could double their capacity for only $1000 more. For corporate users, $1000 is a drop in the bucket.

      And without a doubt in the next 6 mont

    • by bschorr (1316501)

      Or you install the 2.5" drive into an external enclosure that still attaches via USB. Then you have the space for less money and in a form-factor that you're less likely to drop out of your pants pocket when you get up from the table at lunch.

  • So, with such a high price tag, the only advantage really is the size and hopefully it is reliable enough. With such a large capacity handheld drive, I hope they offer some kind of online backup method or something. What about security ?? Its likely to get misplaced. Do they offer secure access with this ?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It better come pre-loaded with the cure for cancer.

  • by NaCh0 (6124)

    Now that these things are getting big, who is going to popularize building them with eSATA connectors to get some good speed out of them?

    Think how cool a true flash drive in your pocket would be!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Nobody will do that. What you will see is USB 3.0 USB sticks. That should give you about the same bandwidth as eSATA, plus it is an always-powered port.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by HiThere (15173)

      I think they're planning on USB3. It's supposed to be quite speedy...though I've no idea what that means.

  • by Guppy (12314) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:02PM (#28773977)

    Kingston Unveils $1000 USB Flash Drive

    This is a little like making a gem-encrusted toilet seat. While undoubtedly a useful interface (I use it almost every day), it is ill-suited to fast, bulk transfers, and I'm anticipating crappy performance despite the high price tag.

  • A Bet I made. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jameskojiro (705701) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:05PM (#28774017) Journal

    I made a bet to someone that by October of 2010 we would see some sort of USB 1TB Flash drive. I think my bet is safe.

  • How many GB can I get in a flash stick for 23,148,855,308,184,50?
  • Or, you can replace the magnetic drive inside with a SSD drive like THIS [discountechnology.com] for much less ($699) and get an external case to carry it one of THESE [discountechnology.com] a total cost 25% less (approx $770).

    But that is just me.

  • buyers could probably get more storage by purchasing two of the cheap ultraportables.

    They could definitely get more buying an external drive from Best Buy with 3-4 times the storage at 1/10th the cost.

    There is no question here as to how cheap storage is.
  • At that price it should be firewire / e-sata as well as usb.

  • Yes, its expensive. Remember when a Gig of RAM was this much?

    Guess what, its dirt cheap now.

    Give it a year, everyone will have a Terrabyte on their iPhone 10.0's

  • I can't wait until these end up on Woot!
    • I can't wait until these end up on Woot!

      All that wonderful useless crap we don't need. I love Woot.
      BTW who would ever need more than 256GB in flash drive space..kidding of course.
      Only problem is USB 2.0 is sooo slow still. Where is my USB 3.0??

    • by HiThere (15173)

      Understanding the joke, but
      I think the number is between 5,000 and 50,000. Not much for a company, but this product is good PR, and it's a step towards an actual commercial product at a much cheaper price. But I'd guess that it won't be released until after USB3 is finalized. (When's that expected? I haven't been following it.)

  • by dalmiroy2k (768278) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @05:06PM (#28774897)

    Since I got rid of my 3.5' 1.44MB drive and disks several years ago, cheap USB Flash Drives have become their replacements.
    As long as the pendrive is fast and robust enough, I don't care much as size. 1 or 2GB are ok for the use I am giving them.
    I have a dedicated and encrypted drive for my work, another with personal data that's in a Ziplock inside my safe, another one in the internal USB port my motherboard has, another one in my DVD player front USB port, another four in those mini hubs behind my pc, etc.
    If I need better and faster portable storage with respectable size, I use my 300GB WD Passport Essential that got in a Amazon deal. It has multiple partitions, some encrypted.

  • It must have fallen off my keychain or something. What do you mean, "No big deal, USB keys are a dime a dozen"?

  • Very cool indeed to have that much storage space in the palm of your hand. I like how tech is getting smaller and more powerful but the cost as it is is kinda out of this world but im sure in time as all with all cool new tech the price will drop.
  • by Paracelcus (151056) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @05:38PM (#28775335) Journal

    Western Digital My Passport Essential 500 GB is $120.00 and it's tiny!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      Yeah, it's only what, 5-6 times bigger?

      The whole point of this thing is that it is a USB stick with 256gb of flash. If you drop this USB stick, it should not be harmed unless it falls from very, very high. Drop your Passport Essential off a table and chances are it is toast.

      They are used for different purposes, they cannot be compared directly. I personally would never buy one, and being custom order I don't think Kingston believes there is a big market for them either. However, someone will find a use

  • Wrong Direction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Erik Fish (106896) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @05:55PM (#28775531) Journal

    What they need to be working on is a $2 flash drive.

    NAND prices are way up this year, but if USB flash drives are going to be true floppy replacements the manufacturers need to find some way to make the small (less than a gig) sizes cheap and keep them that way.

  • Exchange rate, pah. (Score:5, Informative)

    by asdf7890 (1518587) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @06:00PM (#28775597)

    The device is made on a build-to-order basis, with a suggested UK retail price of £650.52 including VAT â" that's an astonishing $1074.69 at current exchange rates.

    I love how people quote "at current exchange rates" when talking about tech gear. I don't know how well it works the other way around, but here in the UK it isn't often that we see true exchange rate parity for either hardware or software. Even when the pound was worth ~1.8 of your dollars it wasn't unusual to see consumer kit priced at closer to 1UKP==1USD, and I'm comparing online prices here (so I'm not making the mistake of comparing US online prices to UK high-street prices). Not that I'm bitter or anything...

  • Father I need to confess. Contrary to popular belief the significant parts of my life fit in a couple of 16 GB SDHC cards. A bit of video on one and all photos on the other. That's it.

    I take the complete works of Edsger Dijkstra need even less storage. If I would be so privileged to be one 10th as meaningful as he was to society -which I'm not- then 32 GB is still over-dimensioned.

    It's the age guys. All of a sudden one starts to be realistic.

    Back on topic. Fact is these gadgets will become dirt che
  • I like it... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by greymond (539980) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @07:57PM (#28776721) Homepage Journal

    If the last decade has shown us anything, this means that in a couple years I'll have a terabyte flash drive I can carry in my pocket that runs me about $300.

  • ...cheap particle-detector.
  • Yyyyup. Can't tell by the looks of this here rocking chair, but it just seemed like last week that you couldn't buy one of these here "sticks" of RAM. No sir-ee, you had to buy "SIMMs," which if my memory serves me correctly stood for "single in-line memory module." Yyyyup, I remember when the Mack-Twooo came out, and by golly, you could put not just one or two, or even four, but you could put a whopping EIGHT whole SIMMs in that baby! Hooo-wee, did she fly after that! Boy I tell ya, those Flying Toasters

    • very well done. it's always nice to see that there are others that have the exact same memories as you do...
  • it is.... ... a bit bigger though, but was 200Eur

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