FingerGear's Computer-On-a-Stick, said to be the first and only bootable USB Flash Drive, went on sale today in the U.S. The tiny computer is equipped with an onboard operating system, office suite and Internet tools. It retails starting at U.S. $99.
FingerGear is the consumer brand of Bionopoly (Mountain View, California, U.S.) and will sell the unit at Fry's retail outlets. The Computer-On-a-Stick (COS) is designed to be the first bootable USB flash drive with a complete preinstalled Desktop Environment. The company says the COS bypasses the "Windows Wait" because the drive is completely self-contained with its own fast operating system, with startup taking less than 10 seconds and shutdown taking 3 seconds.
Bundled with the device is the OpenOffice Productivity Suite to enables users to create, edit and save Microsoft Office(TM) compatible, Word(TM), Excel(R), and PowerPoint(R) files with PDF printing integrated throughout. The COS also features the Mozilla FireFox(R) web browser, Evolution email Zip compression tools, Telnet, Instant Messenger, and other applications. The unit is equipped with a 256 MB flash drive.
The COS is also available in Fingerprint Editions which allow you to login securely using just your fingerprint. The high level of security is designed to make the unit attractive to corporate, educational and governmental institutions concerned about lost devices or leakage of confidential data. Users must login with their password before each session, and all data saved to the COS is encrypted seamlessly and automatically using industry standard 256-bit AES encryption, the company explains.
The COS can be used as a regular USB flash drive on Windows(R), Linux(R), or Macintosh(R) systems. For non-sensitive data, users can save or transfer data among PCs using the drive's shared 'Public' folder, without having to boot from the device.
FingerGear claims the device is "Virus-Proof" because the operating system is both write-protected and encrypted, effectively blocking worms or malicious code.
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