A USB drive — also known as a flash drive or keychain drive — is a plug-and-play portable storage device that uses flash memory and is lightweight enough to attach to a keychain. A USB drive can be used in place of a floppy disk, Zip drive disk or CD. When the user plugs the device into the USB port, the computer’s operating system recognizes the device as a removable drive and assigns it a drive letter.
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Unlike most removable drives, a USB drive does not require rebooting after it’s attached, does not require batteries or an external power supply, and is not platform dependent. Several manufacturers offer additional features such as password protection, anddownloadable drivers that allow the device to be compatible with older systems that do not have USB ports. USB drives are available in capacities ranging up to approximately 65 gigabytes (GB), depending on manufacturer, in a corresponding range of prices.
With a USB drive, data can be retained for long periods when the device is unplugged from the computer, or when the computer is powered-down with the drive left in. This makes the USB drive convenient for transferring data between a desktop computer and a notebook computer or for personal backup needs.
There are three main USB specifications that USB drives can connect through: 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. Each specification publication allows for faster data transfer rates than the previous version. There have also been several pre-releases and various updates in addition to these three versions.
USB 1.0 was released in January 1996. It was available in two versions:
- USB 1.0 low-speed: Provides a data transfer rate of 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps).
- USB 1.0 high-speed: Has a data transfer rate of 12 Mbps.
Version 1.1, an update that fixed various issues in 1.0, was released in September 1998 and was more widely adopted
USB 2.0, also known as Hi-Speed USB, was released in April 2000. It was developed by the USB 2.0 Promoter Group, an organization led by Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Lucent, Microsoft, NEC and Philips. USB 2.0 features a maximum data transfer rate of 480 Mbps. This boosted performance by up to 40 times. It is backward-compatible so USB drives using original USB technology can easily transition.
USB 3.0, also known as SuperSpeed USB, was introduced in November 2008. The first 3.0-compatible USB storage began shipping in January 2010. SuperSpeed USB was developed by the USB Promoter Group to increase the data transfer rate and lower power consumption. With SuperSpeed USB, the data transfer rate increased 10 times from Hi-Speed USB to 5 Gigabits per second (Gbps). It features lower power requirements when active and idle, and is backward-compatible with USB 2.0. USB 3.1, known as SuperSpeed+ or SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps, was released in July 2013. It bumped up the data transfer rate and improved data encoding for higher throughput.
Margaret Rouse asks:
Small companies often use both promotional campaigns and advertising when marketing their products. However, there are inherent differences between the two types of marketing methods. Promotional campaigns are better known as sales promotions. Business owners use them to provide consumers or business customers with discounts or incentives to purchase products or services. Advertising is generally more focused on the reasons people should make a purchase. There are other major differences between promotional campaigns and advertising.
Information on sales promotions may be embedded in advertising messages. However, sales promotions are generally run for shorter time periods than advertising. The reason is that sales promotions are usually more product- or service-focused. For example, a small restaurant company may promote specials on one menu item for six or eight weeks, and then start promoting another one. Small companies continue running their advertising throughout the year, but periodically change their promotional campaigns to push other products or services. Advertising is also limited to one-way communication, while the customer generally interacts with sales reps or other retail employees during promotional campaigns.
Advertising is more media-focused and widespread. Small companies run many types of advertising messages, including ads for television, radio, the Internet, Yellow Pages, magazines, direct mail and billboards. Business owners also advertise through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Promotional campaigns include coupons, price reductions, buy-one-get-one-free promotions, contests, loyalty programs and point-of-purchase displays. Loyalty programs are designed to reward customers according to the volume of their purchases. Airlines have been using loyalty programs for years to reward frequent fliers. Point-of-purchase displays may include kiosks with detailed information, samples and video instructions on certain products. Prospective customers can see how the product operates at these display units.
<strong>Related Reading</strong>: <a href=”http://smallbusiness.chron.com/long-advertising-campaign-work-70221.html”>How Long Will It Take for an Advertising Campaign to Work?</a>
Small companies primarily use advertising to build awareness and the image of their brand or company name. It takes a considerable amount of time for companies to apprise consumers and businesses of their products and services. Business owners advertise to attract both customers and nonbuying consumers in the marketplace.
By contrast, the objective of a sales promotion is to induce consumers to try or purchase products. Many promotions are focused on the existing customer, especially those run at the retail level. Trial offers may include free food samples in grocery stores. Small companies’ promotional campaigns are often more geared toward an immediate sale, while they use general advertising to build their reputations.
Advertising is usually more expensive than promotional campaigns. Small companies must purchase advertising in specific time frames or by space in print media. Their messages may transcend the target consumers they are trying to reach.
On the other hand, small companies can better control the cost of promotional campaigns. They may, for example, run coupons or incentive programs for specific stores. Samples may be limited to certain quantities to better keep costs in line with certain budget parameters. Moreover, promotional campaigns are usually more practical for higher-priced items like plasma televisions, copiers and industrial equipment. More information is required for these expensive products, making advertising cost-prohibitive and impractical.
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