Writing for Investor’s Business Daily, Patrick Seitz said that Dell Computer Corp. is
taking a radical step
— the company is getting rid of floppy disk drives in its Dimension line, unless customers order them.
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Apple did away with the floppy beginning with the iMac’s introduction in 1998 — a fact not lost on Seitz. Apple excised the device from its PowerBooks and Power Mac G3 line shortly thereafter, and has kept floppies away from the Mac ever since. Most Windows PC makers, however, have kept the floppy drive in place. Floppies are cheap, lots of PC data remains stored on them, and they haven’t been completely replaced by devices like CD-RW drives and Zip disks on PCs.
Seitz said that Dell is going to supplant the floppy with USB-based flash media storage devices. So-called “keychain” drives pack 16MB or more into a device about the size of a thumb. Dell said it would educate consumers about the benefit of USB drives.
Seitz said that analysts think that USB drives will overtake floppies soon, and the diminutive storage devices “have more momentum” than optical drives. Plus, consumers perceive USB drives as having a “cool factor.” Early adopters in the Far East appear to be driving demand just now, according to one analyst.
So does this suggest a fundamental shift in PC makers’ perception of the floppy? Probably not. HP told Seitz that it would continue to ship floppy-equipped PCs on its systems.
Noting that floppies aren’t the only technology to have outlived its usefulness on modern PCs, Seitz envisions a day (far in the future no doubt) when computers will stop being made with serial and parallel ports, too.