Sony has been one of the bigger companies that has been endorsing the idea of using hybrid hard drives and flash memory over mechanical disks. Until recently, the cost per gigabyte of flash memory has made it impractical to use in most settings. The prices have come down dramatically in the past three years, however, and now Sony plans to release the new Vaio U series of laptops using flash memory for mass storage as opposed to a large hard drive. In particular, the Vaio UX90 will feature a 16GB flash drive, a little more than half the size of similar Vaio laptops. It'll cost more, too, quite a bit more, with a price tag of $1805. However, that extra cost can go a long way. With no moving parts inside the drive, the odds of a disk failure are dramatically reduced, durability is increased and the battery life also gets improvements.

Sony's Vaio U series is one of the smallest "laptops" around, almost resembling a PDA due to its small profile. Weighing in at just a tad over a pound, it has many features a PC offers and is designed completely around people who want high mobility and high functionality.

There is a very limited selection of large flash storage available for use in the desktop and mobile sector, but companies that pioneer offerings like this will get people interested in it more. Once the advantages are seen to outweigh the extra cost and sacrifice in disk space, we will probably see a lot more manufacturers following suit. I've long been waiting for the day when I could shop for a 60GB flash drive that uses a fraction of the power of a typical desktop hard drive, and that day now seems to be approaching faster than ever.