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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Flash of anger over mislabeling of USB drive capacity

By Li Ying (Global Times)

09:06, January 06, 2012

The Beijing Consumer Association spoke out on Wednesday to attack major electronics companies over "mislabeling" the capacity of USB storage devices, nearly 12 years after the device was invented.

The group criticized producers including major manufacturers Sony and HP, as well as domestic brands Lenovo and Aigo.

The results were based on a test of 30 drives of sizes between 8-gigabytes and 16-gigabytes, which the association bought from Beijing markets and websites.

All the practical capacities of the keys were lower than packaging suggested, the test found.

"The practical capacity of an 8-gigabyte key is about 7.2-gigabytes or more," an Aigo customer service employee told the Global Times yesterday, "the company labeled it as 8-gigabyte as all companies do."

The association attributed the situation to unreasonable standards which regulate the industry, which allows a 10 percent error between practical and labeled capacities.

"The producers failed to inform consumers of the practical capacities of the flash drives and deprived consumers of their right to the truth," the association stated in its report. Members of the research team were unavailable yesterday.

The current regulation was drafted by the China Electronics Chamber of Commerce and other electronics producers in 2004, and came in to force in May 2011.

Manufacturers use a system of 1-gigabyte equating to 1000-megabytes, whereas operating systems measure it as 1-gigabyte being 1024-megabytes. This is why the capacity read by a computer is always smaller, said Zhong Ying, an IT professional.

"But as a customer, I would hope that USB manufacturers label the realistic practical capacity of their products," he added.


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