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Intel to kill floppy drives, serial ports next year

About time too

Intel Technology Roadmap Intel is finally inciting the death of the floppy drive and is calling on PC manufacturers big and small to stop supplying the once-capacious 1.44MB removable drive in the latter half of 2002.

So say confidential Intel documents seen by The Register. The chip giant wants OEMs to phase out the floppy in the second half of 2002. It hopes they will pull the plug - as it were - on PS/2 and serial ports at the same time.

The parallel port will be with us for a little while longer - Intel has yet to timetable its demise. And we note that corporate-oriented PCs will continue to ship with floppy drives after their consumer counterparts have ceased to do so, according to Intel's technology roadmap.

Mac users have long been forced to live without legacy ports and floppy drives after Apple CEO Steve Jobs struck them off the company's spec. sheets some years back. We can't say we miss 'em since any file that can be fit on a floppy can be emailed to another user in moments.

PC types seem to hang on to their outdated technologies with rather more passion than their Mac counterparts, which is the only way of explaining why there are so few 'legacy-free' PCs out there and why the ones that are tend not to sell as well as their port-packed alternatives.

Vendors tend to see that as a sign that people want serial, PS/2, parallel etc. and not use USB and 1394. But unless you force people to change, as Apple did, it's impossible to say whether demand for older ports is intent or inertia.

Intel's technology roadmap also tells us we'll see Bluetooth wireless connectivity appearing on new machines, initially via a USB module, in consumer and pro PCs during the first half of next year.

In that timeframe we can expect to see PCs shipping with add-in Serial ATA cards. Integrating Serial ATA on the motherboard won't happen until the first half of 2003, Intel reckons. USB 2.0 will be integrated into the motherboard during 2H 2002. ®

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