We tend to think of USB Flash drives as quick and dirty storage devices for quickly moving around our data, but Kingston has bigger ideas. Last year, the memory vendor quietly began including portable application software on a couple of its DataTraveler line of Flash drives (DT101G2 and the DT102 models specifically) and, this spring, the company will be taking its portable software to the next level. Dubbed urDrive, Kingston’s software allows users to install and run programs off of the USB drive so they can use, for example, their own Web browser on any PC without leaving a footprint behind.
The next generation of urDrive is due on select Kingston flash drives this Spring. urDrive 2.0 will not only have a web browser, photo viewer, password manager, and mp3 player built-in, but the software will be completely redesigned and expanded with a flashy new UI, an app store for both games and utilities, and the option purchase music from the Universal Music Store, which has over 70 million songs.
Kingston calls its urDrive software “active storage,” because it provides a safe way for users to bring their apps and data with them to public computers such as those in Internet cafes or to work terminals that don’t allow employees to install their own software or store their own media locally. Because the built-in browser has anti-key logging software and stores all cookies and passwords on the drive, users can feel confident that their settings, history, and media files will stay private and leave with them when they remove the flash drive.
The concept of portable applications is not a new one, as the site PortableApps.com has been providing Flash drive versions of everything from Chrome to OpenOffice for many years now. However, Kingston urDrive is unique because it puts all of its native apps (browser, password, photo gallery) into one compelling UI and provides more and better choices in its urDrive app store. With a little buzz, urDrive could really bring the concept of active storage into the mainstream.
We look forward to testing urDrive 2.0 when it ships on drives later this spring. In the meantime, check out this interesting demo of Kingston’s portable application software in action.