This new take on optical drives comes from a collaborative relationship between Hitachi and LG. Like most optical drives we're used to, they function as CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray readers/writers but these drives also have the ability to store data in flash memory. More specifically, Micron's 25nm NAND flash memory which currently sits at 64GB or less. The physical size of the drive is 12.77mm making it a good fit for a slim tray.
Hit the break to decide is these new hybrid drives have any merit.
It's no secret that because of the advent of more stable and more abundant flash memory as well as faster and cheaper Internet that optical drives have been losing some of their usefulness. Netbooks are fairly common occurrences today and seem to perform their necessary functions without one, although they really can't do much outside everyday computing, but that's besides the point. The addition of extra memory can certainly be beneficial for laptops because except for the high end, their HDD capacity is relatively low. Maybe instead of flash memory they could use a solid state drive which would dramatically increase performance and offer the ability for dual HDD support on more laptops in general. This is certainly one area where laptops are really lagging behind desktops at the moment and maybe this combination drive can help bring them up to speed.