Is 2007 shaping up to be the year of the solid-state drive (SSD)? Probably not quite, but there is no doubt that the technology is moving forward both in technical prowess and price and will likely emerge as a solid alternative to traditional hard disks in the next few years.
Still, that doesn't mean you won't be able to find SSDs right now, particularly for laptops. It's just that you'll probably have to pay a premium for them.
Fujitsu is one of the latest to make a move into SSDs, with a pair of ultraportable LifeBooks outfitted with either 16-GB or 32-GB drives. Of course, the company can still provide a traditional drive for customers who don't really need the extra durability of solid state.
Also new on the market is a 2.5-inch SSD from SanDisk. Like the 1.8-inch version that came out a few months ago, the unit is designed to fit right into a traditional slot, which should make it easier for manufacturers to integrate them easily into existing models. The 32-GB drive has a SATA interface and a 2-million-hour MTBF.
And from Intel, there is the Z-U130 SSD that kicks off what the company says will be a full line of SSD devices in the coming years. Intel based its design on a NAND flash memory architecture with a USB interface, which should provide a smooth integration across a wide variety of platforms.
So who should run out and buy solid state now, and who can safely wait until the price points come down a bit? Clearly, the single best advantage SSD has is its ruggedness, meaning that if you're putting a laptop through the ringer, it might be just what the doctor ordered.