Monday, April 26, 2010

Sony Announces the Death of the Floppy Disk

Fully 12 years after the original G3 iMac dropped support for the 3.5-inch floppy disk, Sony has finally decided to stop making them. The reason is a lack of demand. The surprise is that it took so long.

If you still rely on the massive 1.44MB of space to move files quickly around between far-flung computers, don’t worry: Sony will keep the production lines running until March 2011, giving you a year to stockpile the things. You won’t be alone. Apparently, “lack of demand” is somewhat relative, and Sony sold a jaw-dropping 12 million floppies in Japan during 2009.

The 3.5-inch floppy has delighted giggling schoolboys with its name ever since its invention back in 1981 and subsequent Japanese launch two years later. Now it joins the cassette tape and the 8-track in fondly remembered obscurity.

It’s pretty mind-boggling to think that I could (and had to) boot my old Amiga from a floppy, as it had no hard drive. Back then we used to get out pirated games via sneakernet or by MailTorrent, as it was never called, and the one and a half megabytes and creaky 1000 kbps transfer rate seemed bottomless and blistering compared to the cassette tapes they replaced.

RIP, my floppy friend. If anyone out there actually still uses these fragile old things, tell us why in the comments.


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