Sony will be releasing a new version of their ultra-portable Vaio U series laptop next week. In place of the standard 30GB hard drive, it will feature 16GB of solid-state storage. There had been rumors in weeks past that Apple had been making deals with flash memory manufacturers for a possible 12 inch flash-based laptop. It seems like Sony has beaten Apple to the punch. There are many reasons for the move to a flash-based system. Aside from high prices and the decrease in storage capacity, using flash as the primary storage medium allows for much faster read and write speeds in addition to low power usage, optimal for ultra-portable notebooks. The Vaio UX90 just launched in Japan today and the US will get its first glimpse soon after, in July.