We can’t actually remember the last time we used a floppy disk, and for most users these little squares of plastic are but a distant memory, but it turns out Sony hasn’t stopped making and selling them. Yet.
Sony created the world’s first 3.5-inch floppy disc back in 1981 and for decades, PCs creaked and made strange noises as computers battled to access the 720K (double-density) or 1.44MB (high-density) data onboard.
Seasoned computer users may recall the joys of installing early versions of Photoshop on great piles of floppy disks with the terror of a ‘read error’ on Disk #21 bringing proceedings to a frustratingly early – and often terminal – end.
Office workers may also recall seeing floppy discs go flying over from desk to desk as an early form of networking, while others may have made style statements by using the funky coloured disks that came along later.
While it’s pretty difficult to get too nostalgic about the floppy disk, it certainly paid a very big part in a lot of people’s lives, so we do feel a slight twinge at the news that Sony is stopping all production in March next year.
Slow, lingering death
It’s been a slow death – the company managed to shift 8.5 million units in Japan alone in 2008 – but with demand peaking way back in 1995 and the other major manufacturers Hitachi Maxell and Mitsubishi Kagaku Media quitting last year, the end is truly nigh for the humble floppy.
Sony has already stopped international sales of floppy discs (with the exception of India and a few other parts of the world), and with no floppy disc drives being made since last September, it’s time to say goodbye to the floppy.