No Hard Drive

December 19, 2007

The latest hot rumor in the Mac world (and longer I use a PC, the more interested I am in those rumors) is that there may be a new laptop coming after MacWorld in January.  Not that big a deal, usually, but in this case the rumor is that this new laptop will be hard-drive free, which is very cool.  We have entered the stage at which it is possible to create a machine that has only flash memory, and thus virtually no moving parts (if there is also no optical drive, then I suppose the keyboard is the only thing moving … make it a touch-screen and there’s not much left). This is important, of course, because we want things to be portable AND durable, and those of us who haul around  laptops and occasionally drop them, know that the moving bits are the ones that break.

Anyway, I’m ready.  I want to try using a computer that is not in any way a storage device. I’ll store music on my iPod and external drives, my documents on Google-Docs (or whatever online), and my pictures on Flickr or a similar thing.  The laptop then becomes simply an access device with a display, an input system,  and a network connection.  The operating system  becomes  kind of secondary in this system …  Windows, Linux, OSX, whatever … just give me a browser and the ability to get on the web and I’m set.  There is some speculation that this has added to the lack of excitement over the release of Vista … people just aren’t impressed by an OS anymore, because it is nothing more than a way to get online. (the fact that people don’t seem to like Vista probably also has something to do with it). Flash memory is also very quick when it comes to access and while it may be slow to write to … who cares, I’m not planning to write to my local drive very often.

Of course, Apple didn’t come up with this on their own.  The Asus EEE PC is already available with all of the features mentioned, as is a similar device from Intel, and the laptop being developed for children in developing nations (and the latter all go for far less than an Apple machine would). I remember just a few years ago I was saying that processors weren’t sexy anymore, now we’re all into storage … well, forget storage, we just take that for granted now … just give me access.



  1. I’m with you on this one, as far as notebooks go. I’ve never been that into them for a few reasons: 1) I find the keyboard too compressed, and I end up mashing multiple keys, 2) Weight – I don’t want to lug pounds of stuff. 3) Battery life. It sucks, generally.

    Give me a light, small but functional laptop, and I’d be all over it (providing the price is right – yeah, right).

    Storage, however, is not something I’m immediately prepared to give up on my home computer. I find it remarkably easy to fill half-a-Gig of hard drive with music and video. No Mp3 player is going to be providing that much storage anytime soon.

  2. And when I said half-a-gig, I meant half a terabyte. Duh.

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