Samsung has exhibited a notebook computer with 32GB of flash memory fitted in the space normally occupied by a 1.8 inch hard drive. It boots in 11 secs compared to 31 secs for a HDD-based notebook. But 32GB is not a lot of capacity. Also the 32GB costs $960, $30/GB - way more than a small hard disk. Sign of the times maybe though. Maybe not.
It's curious why the price/capacity curve for flash memory lags the price/capacity curve for RAM so dreadfully badly. Why is the darn stuff so very, very expensive?
Gartner estimates that 16GB Flash drives will cost from about $90 (£52) in 2007. Hmm, I don't think so Sherlock. Not with 32GB costing $960 in 2006. That's totally unrealistic.
There's also that limitation of flash's read/write cycles. We don't really want notebook operation stopped because the flash memory has reached its read/write cycle limit.
Flash memory sometimes seems as if it is one of IT technology's permanent teases. It's also around the next couple of corners ahead but never actually arrives. Perhaps we should blame the RAM and HDD guys for doing such a great job of improving their price/capacity curves so much. Poor old flash has a fast-moving target to catch up and is overtaking HDD technology with mind-numbing slowness.
Although it appears to be competitive at the 3-5GB level in applications needing robustness and a small form-factor there are no signs of HDD manufacturers exiting the low end micro drive space.
I guess we'll have to put up with Windows' horribly slow boot times for a good while longer yet.