Share Presentations with OTG USB Flash Drives on Mobile Devices

It’s easy to share with the OTG (On-the-Go) USB flash drives even on mobile devices.  Even though it’s hard to imagine how the USB flash drive fits into a mobile device, the micro USB plug on the OTG USB flash drive offers a very simple explanation.

In addition to the standard USB plug on one end, the micro USB plug fits into most mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones. Our first OTG device – the Mobile 360 OTG USB flash drive is pictured below. The cap that protects the micro USB plug has been removed and not visible on the photograph.

Mobile 360-Opened Micro USB Reveal

One may ask a question, Why do I need to monkey around with a flash drive when I can easily share any info I want on the Cloud? Well… in order to share the data; one would need to get contact information of a person you would like to share it with. It’s not easy having to spell long email addresses only to misspell them again; just to share a presentation or a few documents. Finally, once the information is shared, the only thing that the client is left with is your shared link and not anything tangible in the client’s hand.

Give your client a presentation loaded OTG USB flash drive that’s branded with your company’s identify. The client can simply plug it into a mobile device or a computer to view your company’s information or store their own data. In any way, it’s much more personal and easy method to share with a client.

Most modern mobile phones and tablets support the OTG protocol, but not all. For example, Apple iPads or iPhones do not support the OTG protocol and thus will not be able to work even with an adapter. The OTG technology is not new; however more devices support the protocol to enable sharing of data or expanding of the mobile capacity easier.

You’ll Love this Slide and Store USB Flash Drive

We want functional and easy to use devices. Is it too much to ask? “Easy to use”, they say. “Intuitive!”, they claim. There is nothing easy or intuitive about it when scouring the message boards, blogs, and online help is mandatory for basic setup of almost any modern device.

Simplicity is golden and difficult to achieve. Even after dealing with the USB flash drives for more than a decade, it’s not easy to find a design that is practical, intuitive, and easy to use.

Just like the cap on a pen, flash drives use the cap to protect the USB connector from dust and damage. Similarly to the cap on the pen, the cap on the flash drive always gets lost. No matter how expensive or inexpensive the pen is; the detachable cap will once become permanently separated from the pen not to be found ever again. Fortunately, the flash drives are usually are not as expensive as Montblanc pens; hence the loss of the USB cap can be an uneventful experience.

A smart and practical design of any product needs to be singled out; even celebrated! Just recently added to our line-up is the USB Slider.

Acrobatics of this flash drive are to please
Acrobatics of this flash drive are to please

The design on this flash drive allows the cap to be secured to the USB connector while not in use. Sliding the cap on the side rails reveals the USB connector. The cap then rotates on rails to the back of the drive to be secured away from the USB connector. Simple design that allows secure storage of the cap and protection of the USB connector all in one package – simply ingenious.

Maybe it’s not an advanced device that deserves a trip to a message board for help; nevertheless, even a simple flash drive can deserve praise for practicality and ease of use.

How Long Does a USB Flash Drive Last? (Part II)

We place precious data on these small electronic devices. It’s of no surprise that we wonder if it can all just disappear in the flux of electronic bits, bytes, capacitors, and transistors. It’s not easy to grasp how a USB flash drive can store all of our life’s work and keep it safe. Let’s dive in and figure out if these flash based devices can be trusted.

Just Give Me a Straight Answer

USB flash drives and SSDs are fast and increasingly reliable, and are replacing the older tapes and hard-drives. I recall from the numerous studies, articles as well as just the common understanding between the IT professionals, the average lifetime of a hard-drive was between 3-5 years. As the flash memory reduced in price, the surge of the flash drives and SSDs has increased dramatically. However, the knowledge about their endurance or the lifetime of the flash memory based devices has been lacking.

Many factors directly affect the longevity of the flash memory. Some of those factors are the quality and the type of the flash memory and the controller, and the intended use of the USB flash drive or SSD device. If you want the fastest answer without getting technical or getting bored with the details, the life of the modern USB flash drive or SSD would generally match or exceed the average lifetime of a hard-drive under moderate load – 3-5 years or more.

More Details, Please

We started the discussion on this topic in the previous post. It can be accessed here. Without knowing if there is any interest, we focused mainly on a theoretical time model of constant read/write load on the drive. It was assumed that a USB flash drive would be written to 15% of the time under 24/7 365 days a year load.

Since, this topic seems to perk the interest of a few readers, it was important to add more color into the dilemma of predicting the life and death of a flash memory device.

It’s important to understand that the quality of the flash memory as well as the logic of the flash memory controllers can affect the performance as well as the endurance of a flash memory device such as USB flash drive or SSD. The models that are presented assume that the controller can distribute the writes evenly over the flash memory, and that the quality of the flash memory itself will stand up to the promised write/erase cycles.

Below, are two models for computing the endurance of a flash based device. The first is the time model – given a specific write time each day, how much data can be written to a device and thus how long it will last. The second is the data model – given a specific data size, how long will the device last if the data size is written to the drive each day.

Flash Memory Endurance Computation-Bowtie Promotions 2013

Table Adventure or How to Follow the Endurance Numbers

All of the flash memory lifetimes are computed for the TLC type memory. This particular type memory is becoming the standard for the consumer based flash products. It has earned the clever marketing moniker cMLC.

The topmost table, as mentioned before, depicts the time based model.  The bottommost table depicts the data model. Both models assume 100,000 IOPS (Input/Output Operations per Second) for modern SSDs; 60K IOPS for older SSDs, and 2.5K IOPS for the USB flash drives. Additionally, both models assume that the SSD type flash memory is rated to 3K write/erase cycles, whereas the USB flash drive memory is rated to 1K. The actual numbers will vary; however these numbers are close enough for the modeling purposes.

On the very bottom of each table is the “Terabytes per year” measure. This number clarifies how each model differs.  In the time model, if the flash memory and the device are fast, then they will be able to write much more data in a given period of time. In the data model, time does not matter, because we are given a fixed data to write each day.

The time model assumes that we’ll be writing on average about an hour per day. In the most extreme example of the time model, given a 256GB SSD (100K IOPS rated drive), you’ll have written 469.92 Terabytes worth of data per year or 751.87 Terabytes over 1.6 years before the drive’s ultimate end. In the slowest example of the time model, given a 256GB USB flash drive (2.5K IOPS rated drive), you’ll have written only 11.75 Terabytes worth of data per year or 250.04 Terabytes over 21.28 years before the drive’s end of life.

Now the data model. You’ll notice right away that the Terabytes per year field is exactly the same for each drive. Here it does not matter how long it takes; you can have the fastest drive or the slowest. What matters is that you have a certain amount of data that you write per day. In case of our model, 1GB worth of data per day was chosen. Therefore, the written data per day will be 1GB * 365 day per year = 365GB per year or rounded 0.36 Terabytes per year.

Outstanding Endurance in USB Flash Drives for a Casual User

The time model’s results are not very appealing; however the time model is more suited for a server, professional CAD, or a audio/videophile who are constantly writing large amounts of data each day. For a casual user or a professional who does not reply on writing significant amount of data per day, the data model is much more appropriate.

The data model shows more than 40 years of life for a 16GB USB flash drive. That’s an outstanding endurance number for any electronic device. It’s comforting to know that even though it’s a tiny device, it can be trusted with many years of service for keeping the data safe.

Conclusion; Just Before You Go

Our time and data models show promising results for the SSDs and the USB flash drives. If you’ve got data to move, the flash memory provides the fastest route available today. In the time model, the life of the drive is only shortened due to the incredible amount of data being written to the drive. In the data model, the casual and some professional users can take comfort in the results. The longevity of the 256GB USB flash drive pushing 700 years is as safe as it gets.

Just before you go, only one note. As the drive fills up with data, the models need to be re-referenced. For example, if you manage to fill up half of your 16GB USB flash drive with data on the first day, you’ll only have the remaining 8GB for writing. Then it would be best to reference the endurance for the 8GB drive to get a closer approximation.