Many manufacturers don't seem to give their customers much credit. There's this idea that all we need is more education, and once everyone understands the benefits of SSD caching, hybrid drives, and standalone SSDs, they'll be more willing to embrace the higher cost of solid-state storage.
We don't necessarily agree. You don't have to be an enthusiast to know that SSDs offer a significantly different experience than hard drives. The New York Times recently interviewed our editor-in-chief Chris Angelini for a story on solid-state storage. Assuredly, this is not a fringe technology misunderstood by the mainstream.
The issue, really, is cost. As many of our readers pointed out in a recent poll, they purposely pick mobile technology with conventional storage. It's not that they aren’t interested in the performance benefits of an SSD. Rather, there's a limit to how much most people are willing to spend on a more responsive storage subsystem. And as you can see in the chart below, very few folks are willing to sacrifice another feature to fit an SSD in a given budget.
This same poll was also conducted back in 2006 by IDC, and the results are largely the same. It’s very clear that most people are only willing to accept a 10% price premium for a notebook with an SSD. A majority of those who don't cap the expenditure at 20%.
When it comes to mobility, most folks seem to agree that durability is a nice benefit. However, it's clearly not the primary motivator behind SSD purchases.
Everyone at the conference seemed to agree that SSDs won’t replace hard drives as a result of the cost factor. The price you pay per gigabyte of solid-state memory is significantly higher than magnetic storage, and may always be. Since that constant isn't expected to change any time soon, we spent some time discussing a few other peripheral issues.