Unlike existing storage formats such as SmartMedia, Compact Flash and Memory Stick which are based on memory chips, the new Sanyo format uses a 5-centimetre magneto-optical disc.
This gives users an immediate advantage in the amount of data they can store on a single card. The current highest capacity memory-based cards can accommodate 64MB of data and last week several companies announced the imminent launch of 128MB cards but iD Photo offers 730MB of storage space. In terms of images, that's space for 11,000 pictures at VGA (video graphics array) resolution (640 x 480 pixel).
To accompany the format launch, Sanyo also took the wraps off a new iD Photo-based digital still camera. The IDC-1000Z, nicknamed iD-Shot, is a 1.5M-pixel class camera that also has the ability to record video clips at 30 fps (frames per second) -- the same frame rate as the US NTSC television system. Three levels of video quality are available, low resolution (160 x 120 pixel), medium resolution (equivalent to a basic television picture) and a higher resolution mode for VGA size movies.
Additionally it has an IEEE1394 high speed data port and a USB (universal serial bus) connector for hooking up to a personal computer or other device.
It will go on sale in Japan from December 8 and carry a suggested retail price of 160,000 yen ($US1,480). Sanyo said it plans to produce 10,000 of the devices during its first month on sale.