From paper tape to data sticks: The evolution of removable storage

Over the years, people have tried to transfer information from one computer to another in a dizzying number of ways. Here's a look at some of the best, along with others that time forgot.

Not Just a Flash in the Pan

Toshiba invented NAND flash memory in the early 1980s, but the technology didn't gain prominence and plummet in price until the digital camera and PDA boom of the late 1990s. Subsequently it has become available in myriad forms, from large proprietary cards (designed for use in early handheld PCs) to PC Card sizes to CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Secure Digital, Memory Stick, xD Picture Card, and more.

Flash storage is popular because it is completely solid-state with no moving parts. Flash cards require little power to operate, they are rugged, and their storage space has increased exponentially over the years while the media itself remains relatively inexpensive. The first CF cards held 2MB of data; today they can hold 128GB.

Photos: Sandisk/FujiFilm/Transcend/Sony/SimpleTech/Kingston

2 of 20

Comments on this image

There are currently no comments for this image.

Post new comment

Users posting comments agree to the PC World comments policy.

Login or register to link comments to your user profile, or you may also post a comment without being logged in.

Related Slideshows

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?