MSI introduced a new netbook into their lineup this week, unveiling the first model that comes with hybrid storage. The MSI U115 Hybrid, an Atom-based unit with a 10” screen, will come with both a mechanical disk and a solid state disk and offer the option to prefer the SSD over the other or shut off the mechanical disk to increase battery life. The OS and basic file system, by default, operate off the SSD (8GB to 16GB in size), with the option of enabling the much larger HDD (120GB to 160GB) to get more storage space.

Aside from the interesting storage scheme, the netbook itself has all the features you could want or expect out of a tiny machine. A 1.6GHz Atom is paired with a gig of RAM, a 1024x600 screen, a 802.11b/g/n wireless adapter, built-in camera, and the option for a longer lasting (albeit heavier) 6-cell battery, or a 3-cell battery standard. MSI claims the battery life for the unit is very long, but does not give any specific numbers for run time.

For several years, it seemed the industry was leading more towards “hybrid” drives, which would have both flash-based storage and mechanical storage on a single unit, using one whichever was more preferable at any given time. That idea has fallen by the wayside, making room for pure-flash based SSDs. That might change down the road if vendors expand upon this idea and start shipping units with two drives – one flash and one mechanical.