Dell Notebook Marks Beginning of End for Optical Drives?
The new Dell Studio 14Z notebook is designed without an optical drive. That makes the 14Z a bit slimmer and lighter, and makes room for a 5.5 hour battery. Is this a good trade-off? Laptop Magazine seems to think so, awarding the 14Z its Editors Choice award. This may be the beginning of a trend. The 14Z is targeted to the student market. Younger folk, I am told, are used to download and streaming multimedia content. They have less use for traditional optical media such as DVD's and CD's. Observing my own college-student children, I agree. This trend is likely to spread to us oldsters as well. For most of us, a notebook PC is a second computer. If we need an optical drive to load software, we can simply connect to our network and use the optical drive on our desktop PC as the source for a software install. Few of us actually need to install software while on the road. Plus, many of us are now used to using netbook computers, none of which have optical drives built-in. Except for strange beings such as technology consultants (who always want an optical drive on hand for testing software, etc.), I predict we will over the next few years see optical drives fade from the mainstream notebook market. Of course, I also thought Palm would forever rule the smart phone world with its Treo series. Just don't ask me where the stock market is going.