Death of the floppy: Dell cans drives

Dell Computer is phasing out floppy disk drives in its PCs and will instead sell USB drives with its PCs.

Marketing director Rob Small said Dell Computer Australia was already selling its OptiPlex business PCs without floppy drives, and its Dimension home PC range will follow soon.

“Customers are saying they don’t need floppy drives, and this [selling PCs without floppy drives] removes costs for us and our customers,” he said.

Small said Dell had not conducted any research for the decision, but said Dell would push its customers towards the benefits of flash storage.

“I’d expect they [Dell customers] could still get a PC with a floppy drive [in the future] if they requested one,” he said.

Dell will offer its customers Dell-branded ‘thumb drives’ of 64MB or 128MB, one which will be the same price as a floppy drive. Besides their capacity advantages over the 1.44MB floppy, USB drives also have faster transfer speeds.

Small said Dell will also offer bootable USB drives that can load operating systems.

CD storage has also usurped the floppy disk, and has become a popular feature for new PCs.

“That’s true of home PCs,” said Small. “However, businesses generally don’t need CD writers on every PC, and the cost of a USB drive is about one-fifth of a CD writer.”

Verbatim Australia, a vendor of data storage products, including floppy disks, said it expected its floppy disk sales to decline in three to four years.

“Our sales of floppy disks have surprised us. We thought it would die off five years ago. But our floppy sales have been stable for three years,” said Alan Kleeman, media manager at Verbatim Australia.

Dell is the second vendor to drop floppies from its product line-up; Apple Computer did so several years ago.

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