FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, July 07, 2006

Flash Drives for Laptops

The solid-state flash technology that powers iPod Nanos and mobile phones is making its way into laptops, where its advantages -- speed, silence, ruggedness, efficiency -- will be greatly welcomed.

Samsung's new Q30 laptop features a flash drive instead of the traditional hard drive with many delicate moving parts, giving it 32 GB of storage. Hence, it uses less power for longer battery life, features instant-on (my biggest beef about laptops is their generally slow startup time), and can tolerate far more abuse than the average laptop.

The price tag ($3,700) is steep, but flash prices are falling by 40% per year. Plus, consumers will surely embrace any technology that's faster and more reliable than what came before. For those who need more storage capacity than what flash drives can offer alone, laptop manufacturers are incorporating "hybrid" drives -- conventional drives that feature built-in flash storage for accelerated performance. One indication that we may see more hybrid drives in the future: Microsoft's new Vista operating system will reportedly contain features to take advantage of them.

Source: Forbes.com