Speak, memory! The eternal search for notebooks with flash drives

May 18, 2010

Good news for us computer geeks! PCs are nearly ready to ditch hard drives for faster, less energy-intensive drives with flash memory, like in a camera or cell phone, according to memory maker Micron, which ought to know. That is exciting news for victims of crashed hard drives and people who always want something new.

“I think it’ll be a story in 2011, and it’ll be pretty good penetration in 2012. But, you know, maybe I’m wrong,” said Mark Durcan, president and chief operating officer of Micron, during the Reuters Global Technology Summit.

Sadly, he may well be right about the last part. The last Micron exec to speak about so-called solid state drives to an appreciatively nerdy Reuters summit was CEO Steve Appleton, who in November 2005 predicted that flash drives would replace hard drives within five years. Actually, he’s still got time, but folks better hurry!

SUMMIT/TECHThere are some notebooks with flash drives (like Apple’s super-thin MacBook Air) and  Durcan says consumers love ’em. Hiccups with the technology from a year and a half or so are gone — power efficiency now beats hard drives, and annoying problems which slowed solid state drives have been solved, he said, comparing now with when Appleton spoke, on the cusp of 2006.

“In 2006 it was the promise. It wasn’t the reality. But it’s real now.” Still, he added, computer makers are wary of the volatile prices.

Hopefully by next year’s Tech Summit that will all be worked out.

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