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Samsung launches disk-free Q1/Q30 portables

Samsung, a massive producer of flash memory, has decided to use more solid-state in its MP3 players and laptops -- and a new version of the Q1 UMPC

It's official -- Samsung has gone off hard disk drives. Not only has the company announced two new portables that use solid state disk (SSD, aka flash) technology, but it recently told Crave that it'll no longer make MP3 players with traditional hard disks, a la iPod.

True to this new philosophy, it's just announced the NT-Q30-SSD 12.1-inch laptop and the NT-Q1-SSD -- a new version of its ill-received Q1 ultra-mobile PC. Unlike the original Q1, the new device features absolutely no moving parts -- the hard drive has been removed in favour of a 32GB SSD.

The swap is intended to make it faster and more durable than its predecessor. Samsung claims the new model can boot up 25 to 50 per cent faster than conventional laptops as it has a read speed of 53MB per second and a write speed of 28MB per second. This allows smoother simultaneous running of multiple applications, plus the reduced weight of an SSD makes the NT-Q1-SSD about 20g lighter than the original.

The data on the solid state disk should be more secure than if it were stored on a hard disk, as it's less susceptible to shocks. Samsung reckons the NT-Q1-SSD can withstand twice the impact that would kill a standard hard disk drive. What's more, it'll operate in 'complete silence'. Samsung says this is an "unprecedented feature" for people who "want to use their PC in a library or other places where noise is not allowed". We guess that'll get rid of all those 'no noisy laptops allowed' signs, then.

The original Q1 got its butt kicked in our UMPC vs. Newton head-to-head, and we're not sure the switch to SSD will save it, particularly as the new model costs £1,399 -- nearly twice as much as the original.

In other news, Samsung also plans to release the Q1b, a version of the UMPC that uses a 60GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM, and more significantly Via's C7-M processor -- which could help prolong its miserably short battery life.

We reckon the NT-Q30-SSD laptop is a much better prospect than the NT-Q1-SSD. We'll bring you more when we get our hands on both products, but for the moment you can pick up the NT-Q1-SSD from eXpansys. -RR