Looks like we might not have to wait quite as long as we feared to reach that promised land of flash-based laptops for the masses -- at least according to Intel. They're expecting to start tossing NAND flash chips into notebooks beginning next year, mainly to benefit start times and lower power consumption. It sure is a convenient time for Intel, in light of their recent partnership with Micron to produce NAND chips, with first customer being Apple who took $500 million worth for their iPods. Also, Micron just today announced their purchase of Lexar Media for $688 million in stock, so there will be plenty of muscle behind these laptop flash drives when they do finally start to come around.

Read: Intel promises flash HDs next year
Read: Micron buys Lexar