Removeable storage technology in the early 1980 was diverse with many competing standards. Not surprisingly, some were short-lived as they failed to interest enough system manufacturers and software firms.
Amdek’s Micro-Floppydisk was a good example. The company was a leading peripherals vendor with a wide product line. The market was starting to move away from the then-standard 5.25-inch floppy disks, and Amdek saw an opportunity to establish itself with a smaller format storage device.
The first generation of Amdek’s 3-inch drives launched in 1982 and was called the AmDisk-3. It was marketed primarily to Apple II users. It was based on the Hitachi/Matsushita/Maxell design. The Micro-Floppydisk dual-cartridge drive was introduced in 1984 and was available for a wider range of systems.
Sony’s 3.5-inch floppy format eventually won the day in the removeable storage wars.
Introduced: 1984 Original Retail Price: $899 Base Configuration: 2 3-inch floppy disk drives with a combined 1MB capacity, plug-compatible with 5.25-inch floppy drives
By the mid 1980s floppy drives just weren’t cutting it anymore. Database, spreadsheet, CAD, graphics and other files were getting too big, and people needed something that could store everything they needed to physically transfer to another location on a single storage medium.
The Bernoulli drive, also called the Bernoulli box, was one popular option. Invented by Daniel Bernoulli, it was similar to a floppy in that the storage medium was on a flexible magnetic platter. However, it was housed in a removable, rigid plastic case, and the drive itself spun at a very high rate of up to 3,000 rpm. The design allowed for the disc itself to spin close to the read/right head without the risk of a head crash.
Although the technology was popularized by Iomega, several other companies made Bernoulli drives. The Bering Industries Totem drive targeted the Macintosh market. That made perfect sense given the Mac’s popularity for applications that generate large files–e.g., desktop publishing, graphics design, and CAD.
The Totem’s capacity was 20MB, or as Bering described it, the equivalent to 25 floppy drives. Like other vendors, Bering claimed the Totem offered “unlimited” storage because it was removable. While technically true, there were practical limitations depending on how many disks you wanted to keep track of.
Introduced: November 25, 1986 Original Retail Price: $1,495 Base Configuration: 20MB 5.25-inch removable cartridge