The major difference between a pen drive and flash drive is that a pen drive is generally only used as a mobile USB storage device, whereas a flash drive has many different uses for data storage. Another difference is that the pen drive always refers to a drive that can be plugged directly into a USB port. On the other hand, a flash drive may be accessible by a direct USB connection, a corded USB connection, or even stored internally inside a cell phone or mobile media device.
Generally speaking, a flash drive is any data storage device that holds data with non-movable parts. Before the inception of flash drives, computer users used floppy discs and CDs to store small amounts of data. When a computer user inserts a disk or CD into a computer, the computer reads the devices through movable parts, such as a laser scanning a CD. Since the flash drive has no moving parts, it is less susceptible to damage. Another advantage of the flash drive is that it is almost universally compatible with a variety of devices. To transfer data between two devices both devices need to have a USB port or USB adapter, but most contemporary computers and electronic products have a USB port. This means that in addition to providing backup storage on a computer flash drives can also be used to store information from video game consoles, mobile media devices, and cellular phones.
The pen drive is a type of flash drive named for its small pen-like appearance. Pen drives can be inserted directly into a USB port without a USB cord. Due to its lack of a cord, a pen drive is extremely mobile and can be attached to a key chain or put in your pocket.
According to the Phison company website, the term “pen drive” came into the computer vocabulary in 2001. Phison developed a removable data storage device they named “pen drive.” Since then, a pen drive has incorrectly been synonymous with all USB flash drives.