The single-spindle laptop could morph into a zero-spindle machine in the next few years, thanks to NAND flash memory. This is the type of memory found inside the iPod Nano and many cell phones, and as the price for NAND memory continues to drop and its capacity grows, it's expected to replace the hard drive on some ultraportable notebooks. The machines will not only shrink in size, but they will also offer shorter boot times and longer battery life.
We are still a few years away from seeing zero-spindle laptops, but later this year, Samsung, the leading manufacturer of NAND memory, and Microsoft will release a hybrid hard drive that uses NAND memory as a cache when the hard drive is idle. Samsung claims that this will extend battery life by 36 minutes. Having already developed a sore shoulder at this CES from lugging around my clunker of a laptop, I'd gladly trade it in for tiny ultraportable with solid-state memory. Perhaps that will be a reality at CES 2009.