Originally Posted by ochre
Solid state (IDE/SCSI) drives have been around for a while. They are damn fast, but still really expensive. Chaining that type of tech to a narrow pipe like usb makes no sense other than to control cost (ie external ATA/scsi/fibrechannel ports would be more expensive).
Durability and shock-resistance are advantages that come to mind, too. Apple is moving iPods in the flash memory direction for those reasons. If that technology becomes cheap, maybe we'll see $100 laptops?