Solid state disk is one of those technologies that never seemed to quite arrive. Smaller in storage and (much) more expensive than hard disks, solid state storage has never proved practical outside niche applications. This may be about to change. After spotting an 8GB flash card under $100, we may be near the point where solid state memory can displace hard drives for a substantial number of mainstream applications.

Labnotes » Solid State Disk Changes The Game When SSD go mainstream, they’ll change the way we use computers. You trade local storage – 32GB is not a lot of space for a modern operating system, music collection and the occasional ripped DVD – for the ability to live in the cloud: to always have access to more information that any one computer can store.

No information on pricing (likely $300-400, still a bit high). 32GB is a little small for anyone storing video, photos, or large MP3 collections - but more than adequate for lots of folks. In fact, the 30GB disk on my laptop - while too small to store my MP3 collection - has otherwise never been anywhere near full.

There is a bit of a snowball effect coming up. Given multi-gigabyte USB flash drives and fast wireless networks, there is less need for CD/DVD readers. Solid state memory can displace hard drives for many folk. In the thin & light notebook category, there are bound to be offerings that drop out the DVD and hard drives - with the end result of longer battery life in a much thinner, lighter and quieter package. Taken together, this is going to be compelling for quite a few folk.