Laptop users will soon be able to have their cake and eat it. Samsung has announced plans at the US consumer electronics show Comdex for a combination CD-RW and DVD-ROM optical disc drive for notebooks, to be released sometime before summer next year.

Such drives promise to change the face of the notebook PC removable storage market by allowing manufacturers to do away with the floppy drive altogether, offering rewritable media through the CD-RW disc drive, while also providing DVD-ROM support. Disposing with the floppy drive will make the notebook PC smaller or, in the case of an external unit, mean users on the road have one less component to carry.

Of course, unlike floppy drives, if you want to transfer information to other PCs they either need to have CD-RWs too, or you need to 'close' the CD so that it cannot be written on again.

Samsung was also showing a second-generation combo drive for desktop PCs. With read/write performance of 12x 8x 32x 12x (CD-R, CD-RW, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM), the drive is due in the second quarter of 2001, a company spokesman said. LG Electronics also showed a similar drive, expected to hit the shelves by around August 2001, and features 12x 8x 32x 8x read/write performance.