I think the solution will be to go to a modular design. A hard drive would consist of numberd bays and the hard drive firmware would track the heath of all the bays. As one goes bad it can be flagged the drive removed and the memory replaced and put back into service.
A RAID style memory backup could keep data lost from happening.
The other advantae is that if you need more capacity it would be like upgrading the memory on your present computer. Just add more modules to the empty slots, or if they are all full, larger sized modules.
of course the fist drives won't have any of this and they will go bad just like you imagine.
There have been rumors that flash-based subnotebooks may enter the mainstream market soon. Toshiba and some other manufacturers have already replaced hard-drives with flash storage on a few models, but as flash memory prices continue downward, the potential for a broader range of NAND-based subnotebooks seems probable due to certain advantages that would justify the higher cost of flash storage:
- more compact
- more shock-resistant
- more energy efficient
- faster startup
Relatively expensive flash storage would increase the utility of subnotebooks while the cost to consumers would be mitigated by the smaller screen and smaller batteries found in subnotebooks.
My main concern is that NAND flash memory has a limited number of read/write cycles. Is this of any practical consequence for its use as a hard drive replacement?