Dell has followed Sony’s lead by offering solid state drives for its Latitude notebooks.

The company will offer flash-based solid state drives for the D420 and D620 ultra-mobile notebooks in the US - and to respond to a similar SSD announcement Sony made for its Vaio Type-G earlier this month.

Traditional hard drives rely on spinning discs and read/write heads, but flash-based drives have no moving parts. As such, it can withstand twice as much force as the hard drive, according to Dell impact testing, which also showed that notebook hardware breaks before the drive does.

The 1.8in 32 Gbyte SanDisk SSD, which SanDisk announced in January, increases performance by as much as 23 percent and is three and a half times less likely to fail when compared with HDDs currently available for the Latitude line, Dell said.

The drive, currently available in North and South America, costs $549 - on par with the 32 Gbyte drive Sony is offering exclusively in Japan for the Type-G Vaio.

There’s no word on when Dell’s SSD laptops will become available in the UK, although SanDisk will expand SSD availability to Europe and Asia in the near future.

As for Dell's SSD plans going forward, CTO Kevin Kettler said the company is committed to offering the SanDisk SSD option across its next generation of Latitude laptops.