updated 08:30 am EDT, Wed August 24, 2005
SanDisk Cruzer Freedom
SanDisk this week introduced , a uniquely-designed USB flash drive that lets students carry secure and legal Internet downloads of textbooks, novels, study aids, learning tools and other copyrighted content. Powered by a proprietary SanDisk technology called FlashCP (Flash Content Processor), the new flash drive is a "digital backpack" that can store educational materials as well as any personal content. The drive comes with two caps: one with a lanyard for wearing around the neck and the other with a key ring for securing to backpacks and key chains. Due in September, it will be offered at an introductory capacity of 256MB for $40 with a limited-time promotional discount at Staples stores across the US.
"Cruzer Freedom is an essential school supply for the digital generation," said Dan Harkabi, SanDisk's vice-president of secure content solutions. "Aside from storing their important personal files, students can now download books, learning tools and reference materials to their drive and use them on any PC, offline or online."
When a student plugs a Cruzer Freedom for the first time into a PC that is connected to the Internet, the device is initialized and can access the SanDisk Online Catalog. The student, with his or her parent's assistance, can then select content for downloading, and the content is secured to that specific drive. Digital books are interactive, so text can be highlighted, annotated and searched.
SanDisk said that many titles are offered for free, including Merriam-Webster's Pocket Dictionary, a choice of one SparkNotes Study Guide, and classic literature ranging from Shakespeare to Mark Twain. Students may also download specialized Web content such as HOMEWORK HUB from Scholastic.com, and Web pages and learning modules created by educators. Content for sale includes textbooks and bestselling novels from leading publishers. The company will continue to add new titles its online catalog on a regular basis.