Sony have announced that in 2011, after 30 long and years they will cease to produce the Floppy Disk. I haven’t actually seen one in the wild for some time, but apparently one of Sony’s best selling peripherals has been a USB floppy disk drive. The image of the floppy disk is so synonomous with saving files that most programs still have a floppy disk style icon you click on when you want to save documents, or games.
It’s easy to see why Floppy disks have fallen by the wayside, mostly the arrival of much larger capacity, and even more portable memory sources have become commn place with USB sticks, flash memory cards, and CDs the methods of choice now for backing up data and installing programs. What once it took 24 or more floppy disks to install can now be easily held on a single CD. Years of documents and spreadsheets can be backed up safely on a single USB stick. Of course the floppy cause hasn’t been helped since floppy drives started going missing from new PCs around about 1996.
There are still niche uses for floppy disks with some high end devices, until very recently, still coming with floppy drives installed as standard, such as the vast desks that control sound and light settings in theatres and music venues. The English national Opera being one example of an organisation of an organisation that still uses the trusty floppy.
Will the floppy end up like Vinyl is to CD at the moment? Something of a niche item that still has a strong following, or will it disappear entirely? I suppose only time will tell, but I know I won’t miss installing something on 25 floppy disks only to find disk 24 is corrupt! (more…)