We all thought that the floppy disk had joined punched cards in the IT graveyard. But Lindy Electronics has used a USB port to resurrect this traditional device.
Long left behind by USB thumb drives in capacity, Lindy's USB-connected floppy drive can read and write 1.44MB floppies. Data is transferred at 12Mbit/s; that is a faster per-second transfer rate than the floppy diskette's capacity. It is bus-powered and there is no need for an additional power supply.
Barry Edmonds, Imation's UK MD, says that floppy disks are still being purchased for use in the education sector. Their manufacture by Imation has not yet ceased.
Stephen Fawcett, Lindy Electronics' senior product manager, said: "We know that customers are using 3.5-inch floppies, because we are still seeing a demand for them." It's an obvious way of retrieving data from a legacy device and there are situations where a floppy drive can be useful: "Even those of us who prefer pen drives and the like, have probably found ourselves presented with a floppy of "important data" and wished we still had an easy way to access it. So our USB floppy drive can be a useful tool."
Once upon a time, over a quarter of a century ago, floppy diskettes stored a computer's operating system -- DOS was, originally a floppy disk operating system. Nowadays you would need more than a thousand floppies to store Windows XP or Vista.
Lindy's USB floppy, compatible with Windows (98SE, ME, 2000, XP, Vista), Linux and Mac OS 8.6 and above, is priced at £29.99 (US$60) and available now.