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USB 3.1 flash drives launching at CES 2015

By Salehuddin Bin Husin - on 31 Dec 2014, 11:54am

USB 3.1 flash drives launching at CES 2015

This isn't the drive you're looking for. Unfortunately, Adata hasn't released any images of their USB 3.1 flash drives so we used one of their older models. 

USB 3.1, the next upgrade for the USB standard, was announced last year but like any new technology, it takes a while before announcement becomes reality. That time is coming up fast as Adata's revealed that they'll be launching a new line of flash drives that make use of the technology. Adata, is a Taiwanese tech company specializing in memory. It's one of top companies in its field, with a wide variety of devices launched over the years.

Set to launch at CES 2015, the new flash drives are reported to utilize Bluetooth in some capacity, by pairing with your smartphone to improve its security. What exactly Adata means by that is anybody's guess, though we suspect it may be just a simple security challenge like inputting a password or combination on a smartphone app to unlock the device for use. Adata also failed to mention the prices and what capacity their new drives will be, though the likely bet would be sizes from 64GB onwards.

Announced last year, USB 3.1 will feature multiple upgrades from the current USB 3.0 standard. The most of obvious is of course the increase in speed, which is now comparable to that of Intel's first generation Thunderbolt technology.

USB 3.1 is faster than USB 3.0 but it's still slower than Intel's Gen 2 Thunderbolt.

While USB technology is the current industry standard, its speeds are still slower than Intel's Thunderbolt. Despite this, USB is still the more widely used technology due to a number of factors. Mainly it's because USB has been around longer, which means more devices support it. While Thunderbolt is faster, it is a relatively new technology and while support for it is steadily rising, it's nowhere near as common as a USB port. Thunderbolt ports also cost more, which is a major determining factor for manufacturers.

The Type-C connector looks similar to mini-USB but is a bit larger and is reversible so you can use it either way.

USB 3.1 will also introduce a new connector alternative, the Type-C. The Type-C connector will be smaller than standard USB 3.1 ports (which are the same size as normal USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports) but about twice as large as mini-USB ports. While this might actually be a welcome addition on notebooks or desktops, it's actually a drawback where smartphones or other smart devices are concerned. As they mainly use the smaller mini-USB port for charging and data transfer, a bigger port might mean limiting the size a smart device can have.

The main draw of the connector is not the size, rather it's the fact that it's reversible. No matter which way it's turned, it can still be inserted into a USB 3.1 Type-C port with no issues, something anybody who has ever used a USB device has long been wishing for.

USB 3.1 will of course be compatible with legacy USB devices. As long as you can connect it to a USB port, it can be used on a USB 3.1 port with no issues. USB 3.1 ports will also see an increase in voltage, which means it can be used to power devices which were unusable on previous USB versions.

As more and more companies start to produce their devices with USB 3.1 technology, expect to see it everywhere soon by the end at next year.

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