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Flash drives in future Apple laptops?

Samsung hopes that falling prices for flash-memory chips will mean solid-state memory can eventually replace hard-disk drives in Apple PowerBooks and iBooks as well as other devices, Macworld UK is reporting.

The comments came from Hwang Chang-Gyu, president and CEO of Samsung\'s semiconductor business, speaking to reporters in a briefing at the company\'s main chip production complex in Giheung, South Korea, south of Seoul.

According to the report, the company recently announced a prototype 16GB flash drive and said it has plans to expand to 100GB \"in a couple of years,\" assuming double-digit percentage price drops in the flash-memory market continue.

Noting that flash-memory saw price drops of around 40 percent in the last year, Hwang said, \"This will be big once people enjoy how much faster and convenient it is to use solid-state disks rather than hard-disk drives.\"

Aside from being more robust, flash-memory presents several other advantages over hard-disk drive storage. It\'s silent in operation, requires less power, and is more reliable because it lacks moving parts. The drives are also typically lighter and can read and write data faster than conventional drives.

The most recent IDC data ranks Samsung as the world\'s number one producer of flash chips.