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What’s in a Name? USB Flash Drive Synonyms

Whats in a name?

While many consumer technology products are instantly recognized by their names, the USB flash drive has always had a bit of an identity crisis.  The name USB flash drive may be the most universal term for this particular device, but it’s just one in a rather long list.  The problem is that these similar but different terms can spark a lot of confusion.  A user may see one term on the packaging of the drive while search engine results or a website may call it something else.  It’s natural for users to wonder whether they’re getting the right thing.

Here’s a comprehensive roster of terms you may come across:

  • Jump drive
  • Thumb drive
  • Pocket drive
  • Pen drive
  • Disk on Key
  • Memory stick
  • USB Key
  • Data stick
  • Finger Stick

Now for the moment of truth: they all mean the same thing!  There is no difference between a flash drive versus a jump drive versus a thumb drive or any of the other seven and counting synonyms that are out there.  So what gives?  Why hasn’t one name been widely adopted?

You can blame the manufacturers.  When the flash drive debuted more than a decade ago, the first sellers–IBM and Trek Technology–coined separate terms.  Trek went with “Thumb Drive” to market the gadget’s size and portability while IBM chose “Disk On Key”.  Consequently, when other tech companies got in the flash drive game, they chose unique flash drive monikers to set themselves apart.  These manufacturers sprinkle in words like key, stick, intelligent, max, security, or even i-Fill in the Blank, which capitalizes on the concept made popular by Apple.

You can also blame location.  Just like any region has its special dialect and lingo, the USB flash drive is no exception.  In the United States, thumb drive and flash drive are more common while in Europe, pen drive and varying phrases using the word stick reign in popularity.

Whichever name suits your fancy, Premium USB carries the flash memory storage you need for personal and promotional projects.  Don’t forget to browse through Premium USB’s custom shape USB and styles we offer, plus find out how you can take advantage of Custom USB Express Service!

What nickname do you use for USB flash drives?  Sound off below!