If you are anything like me, you have probably been wanting to save an image or document to a floppy, for a friend, while using your WinCE device. Until recently this was not possible, mainly because WinCE still really does not support rotating media, such as Hard Drives and Floppy Disks.
Accurite Technologies Inc. A San Jose (California) company has a very cool solution. In their product line they already have a PCMCIA card based Super Disk drive for regular Laptops, they made it work with the WinCE Operating System, by writing a driver which makes your WinCE computer "see" the drive as a regular ATA FLASH card, so when you install the floppy drive the computer thinks that you are using a regular storage card. It is simple and works like a charm.
Things gets even better, the floppy drive from Accurite is not just a floppy drive, it is a "Super Disk Drive" which means that it supports the "Super Disk" standard, this standard allows you to use disks with 120 megabytes of storage. It is important to note that the system also supports good old-fashioned 1.4 meg floppy disks, this means that you can write to any regular floppy disk and hand it to anyone with a a floppy drive in their computer (even a Mac will read the disk).
While the starting price tag is a little steep, the economics in using a Super Disk drive with your WinCE device is great. The drive is about $250 and Super Disk are about $10 a pop, compare that to the the price of FLASH Storage cards. I have a 48meg card which cost me about $200, and a for about $260 you get 120meg, and you can purchase as many $10 120meg disks are you desire. Remember that you can take the drive with you to your next computer, as long as it has a PCMCIA card slot.
In all fairness I need to mention that Addonics also makes a floppy drive for the WinCE platform, I am sure it works well, however they do not support all WinCE computers, particularly the MIPS processor, including my Vadem Clio. When I called Addonics they said they would not offer MIPS drivers in the near future. This makes their product less useful to me since I can not put a driver on all my friends WinCE computers, plug in my drive, and easily copy data to their computers.
The Accurite Super Disk drive comes with drivers to support any WinCE computer, I personally tested it with a Casio PA2400, Philips VELO 500, and my Vadem Clio 1000 & 1050.
In depth information about SuperDisk http://www.superdiskdrive.com/storage/ls120/tech/index.html
Accurites WinCE Floppy Drive http://www.accurite.com/
Bo Lorentzen is a full-time professional digital photographer and gadgeter, he can be reached at for coments.