|Floppy disk drives will soon be history on computers from Dell and other manufacturers. Apple's iMac computers eliminated floppy disks when they were introduced nearly five years ago. Now Dell plans to stop installing the drives on high-end Dimension computers in the next few months and offers them only as an option.
For years, computer users have stored 1.44 megabytes of data on floppy 3.5-inch disks. However, recent sales of the floppy disks have declined in favor of compact discs, which have about 700 MB of storage space.
"With today's advanced technology and files requiring huge storage spaces, the floppy disk can no longer hold all of this data and information. The utility of a floppy disk, which is too small to store photos and other large files, is just no longer there for many users," said Tom Keohan, business and industry specialist, University of Missouri Outreach and Extension.
Another memory storage trend, USB Flash Pen Drives, is being offered as a standard feature on Dell's high-end models.
"The neat thing about these pen drives is that they don't require much storage space but they are still a bit pricey," said Keohan. "Changing the attitude of desktop user about the floppy disk could be a challenge though."
As the cost of CDs drop, and the average size of computer files increases, the future of the 3.5 floppy disk appears to be going the same route as the original 5-inch soft floppy disks.
"Just like 45-rpm vinyl records, the 3.5 floppies will soon only be found at the flea markets and in museums," said Keohan.