The device, called “The Flashkus”, comes as a set of 4 cardboard USB flash drives in one sheet. These can be individually detached along the perforated edges to produce a standalone USB drive. The cardboard is tipped with magnetic strips for data to be stored on. As the body of the USB is cardboard, it can be easily personalised with simple information, notes, graphics, or images.
As a standard 2-4GB consumer USB flash drive is around the £3-5 mark, the devices aren’t really considered cost-effective to giveaway on a mass scale. To use a cardboard disposable flash drive, with a value of let’s say “15p instead of £3” the reality of free dispensing becomes far more plausible.
Companies are considering using the technology to distribute free programs to those who don’t have access to the internet.
These drives are perfect for a wide range of tasks which require physical distribution. They could be used for allocating free trials of software to consumers, portfolios to clients and even interactive instructions in self-assembly products.
Marketing is huge platform for these drives. Magazines could affix Paper USB drives in the same way we see fragrance samples in current issues. These could include free games, unlockable content or limited edition programs.
Media distribution companies could also see the use of the drives. Bands releasing an EP or single cut dramatically cut their production cost by handing out copies on a flash drive. Likewise, for young filmmaker and photographs, these flash drives could work as a physical show reel.
With a flat lightweight product, shipping cost are also dramatically cut compared to a relatively bulky plastic USB stick or cumbersome CD. For consumers the drives can be used as a replacement for disks. You could transfer photos to the drive and distribute them with friends, share files and not have to worry about losing your expensive flash drive.
There are certainly a few drawback to the Flash Drives. First of all Cloud Technology and internet sharing has hacked a chunk out of the USB market- Most people are constantly connected to the internet and so transfer files that way… It’s just easier
Another drawback is durability of the drives. The cardboard has been specially treated to withstand spillages but it is uncertain if the drives could withstand longer periods in water or heat. Modern Flash Drives are far more adept at withstanding adverse weather conditions with some tough USB sticks designed to protect after ultra-rough use.