There are many reasons why SSDs excite people (speed, power requirements, rigidity) and one key reason they don't (price), but here's another huge advantage to put in the plus column...
A joint research project between Toshiba and Keio University in Tokyo has announced the creation of a new technological breakthrough which allows SSDs of up to 1TB to be made with a footprint no larger than a postage stamp. Yes, a postage stamp - that's a 90 per cent reduction compared to a standard 2.5in HDD.
Remarkably, Tosh and Keio have managed to cram 128 NAND flash chips and one controller into this form factor and got it operating at a quoted two gigabits per second (250MB/sec) which puts it right up there with the fastest consumer SSDs available. The good news doesn't end there either, since the drive is also 70 per cent more power efficient than a typical SSD and the reduced size is claimed to make it cheaper to produce.
Is there a downside? Potentially it could run into a problem with industry standards since form factors need to gain approval in order to attain mass adoption. It's main rival here would likely be the newly approved mSata SSD form factor based on the Samsung mini card which is approximately the size of a business card.
Despite this, the as yet unnamed postage stamp sized drive still holds a significant size advantage and, what is more, Toshiba and Keio University say the prototype should lead to a production ready version by 2012. All of which begs one major question: who will be the first laptop maker brave enough to drop the 2.5in drive slot...?
In related news Seagate is doing its bit for the 2.5in HDD with the announcement of the 'Savvio 10k.4', a 600GB, 10,000rpm model with 6Gbps SATA interface and whopping 2m hour Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) rate. Self encryption will also be an option, though we've yet to hear price or shipping info.
We're hoping for less-than-you'd-think and soon...
Image courtesy of Professor Tadahiro Kuroda head of the Keio University research