Dell Computer Corp. (Austin, TX, U.S.) announced on Thursday that it would stop making floppy disk drives standard equipment on its higher-end desktop personal computers.
The No. 2 personal computer maker said floppy drives had been overtaken by technologies offering greater storage capacity and would become an option on its Dimension 8250 models. Other Dell models may lose the floppy by end of the year, depending on customer response, Dell spokesman Lionel Menchaca said.
He said the decision was made because technologies such as USB flash memory offer much more storage capacity than floppies and are more useful with today's mega-memory computers.
"You insert it right into the USB port, and your computer reads it just like it would read a floppy drive," Mr. Menchaca said. "The benefit is, you've got much more capacity -- instead of just 1.44 megabytes, at the low end you have 16 megabytes."
The decision to eliminate the floppy drive came following focus group research with customers, according to Mr. Menchaca.
"When we would ask the question to people 'do you need a floppy,' the answer to that question would be yes," he said. "But when we asked them how long it had been since they used it, they would say six months, a year. Many couldn't remember the last time they used the floppy drive."
Dell says the floppy will first be phased out on higher-end computers because those users are more likely to be utilizing flash memory, portable hard drives, and other alternative portable storage devices.
Dell's decision coincides with Apple Computer Inc., which stopped putting floppy drives in Macintosh.computers several years ago. Other PC firms, such as No. 1 personal computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co., still offer them. (Reuters)
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