Flash Drive-Equipped Laptops Appear in Japan

32G fkash driveFlash drives — think of them as the SD cards in your digital camera, but faster and with more capacity — have several advantages over hard drives. Speed-wise, access times for flash drives are somewhere between your computer's onboard RAM and the fastest hard drive; data can be read 3 times faster from a flash drive than a hard drive, and you can write to a flash drive in two-thirds the time. A flash drive assembly weighs slightly less than a hard drive and it consumes slightly less power, which translates into less lugging and more battery life, which is good news for those of us who do a lot of business travel. Finally, for those who like to treat their equipment roughly — Cory Doctorow, I'm lookin' at you — their solid-state nature means that they're more resistant to impact. The current downsides are price and capacity — the premium for being an early adopter is slightly over US$1,000, which gets you the present maximum of 32 gigabytes of storage.

Fujitsu laptopDigital World Tokyo reports that flash drives are an option for their B- and Q-series computers, available later this month and in November, respectively. The article points to their early reports on Samsung's and Sony's flash drive-equipped oferrings. None of these firms have made any announcements about making them available here in North America, so for the time being, if you want a flash drive-equipped laptop, you'll either need to fly to Japan or Korea or buy it from Dynamism.