SanDisk introduces new flash memory cards

SanDisk on Thursday advanced its line of flash memory cards at the Cebit trade show in Hanover, Germany, announcing two new cards designed to fulfill the storage needs of multimedia mobile phone users.

As mobile phones evolve to include still and video cameras and MP3 audio players, cell phone users will need greater storage capabilities, said Bob Goligoski, a spokesman for SanDisk. The new compact flash cards will provide multimedia mobile phone users with cost-effective storage in a small form factor, he said.

The company's new Reduced Size-MultiMediaCard, or RS-MMC, is a removable flash memory card that is half the size of a standard SD (Secure Digital) card and can be used in any MMC slot or SD card slot.

The card will come in 32M-byte, 64M-byte and 128M-byte capacities, the company said.

The small form factor and basic storage capacities of the RS-MMC card will appeal to multimedia cell phone users, said Goligoski. The small RS-MMC also "gives manufacturers more room to work with" to build new features into future phones, he said.

"As manufacturers add new features like cameras and MP3 players to phones, those components take up more (space). Any component that can shrink in size is a bonus," Goligoski said.

The card will be sold to device makers in volume at prices ranging from US$14.50 for the 32M-byte card to $40 for the 128M-byte card, the company said. A price wasn't immediately available for the 64M-byte card, Goligoski said.

"Every mobile phone manufacturer is adding a compact flash card slot to provide storage for multimedia files," said Goligoski.

The company also refreshed its line of Memory Stick Pro Duo cards. The cards, which have been available in capacities of 256M bytes and 512M bytes, will now also be offered to device makers in capacities ranging from 32M bytes to 128M bytes, SanDisk said in a statement.

The new cards will provide a low-cost storage option for mobile phone users who don't want to buy the expensive, high-capacity Memory Stick Pro Duo cards, said Goligoski. They also will help cell phone manufacturers provide customers who buy a multimedia mobile phone with cheap storage options, he said.

The lower capacity cards have improved write speed, which allows for real-time recording of high-resolution images and video. The cards also feature MagicGate security for the transfer of copyright-protected images and video, the company said.

The lower capacity Memory Stick Pro Duo cards are targeted at newer 3G (third-generation) and 2.5G mobile phone manufacturers whose customers require additional storage capacity for multimedia content, the company said. The volume pricing for the storage cards will range from US$14 to US$43. The products are available to device makers worldwide immediately.

In a separate announcement, SanDisk announced that another flash memory product, the MiniSD card, would become available through retailers worldwide. Introduced at last year's Cebit, this product provides flash memory storage in capacities ranging from 64M bytes to 256M bytes. Previously, the products were available only through retailers in Japan and through device makers who bundled the flash memory cards.

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