"The 3.5" 1.44MB HD floppy may finally be going gentle into that good night. Sony, one of just a few companies that still produce the archaic computer storage media, has announced plans to end production of floppies in March 2011.
The company sold about 12 million 3.5" floppies in Japan last year, which represents 70 percent of that market (and incidentally, about 17TB of data capacity). Floppies are still used with legacy equipment in education and research sectors, according to Sony. However, the company cited dwindling demand as the reason for ending production.
The 3.5" floppy largely replaced the 5.25" floppy by the early '90s, but other storage mediums had begun to replace it by the late '90s. Apple's original iMac was the first mass-market computer to come without a floppy drive in 1998, and Windows PCs gradually followed suit. Iomega's 100MB Zip disk format became quite popular for larger file transfer for a short while, before succumbing to cheap 650MB CD-Rs early last decade. Today, most file transfer happens via the Internet, USB flash drives, or relatively low-cost, high-capacity portable hard drives."
[via Ars Technica]
3.5" Floppy Coasters, Supermandolini