Taiwan's miCard chosen as global memory card standard

A Taiwan institute has produced a new memory card standard, the miCard, which works in digital cameras, mobile phones as well as any device with a USB port

A Taiwanese research institute has produced a new global memory card standard, the miCard (Multiple Interface card) designed to work in smaller consumer gadgets such as digital cameras, mobile phones as well as any device with a USB (Universal Serial Bus) plug, which are common on PCs.

The purpose of the card is to make transferring pictures, songs and other data between gadgets and PCs easier. The card won the stamp of approval from the MultiMedia Card Association (MMCA) on Thursday, and is expected to be available globally starting from the third quarter.

Users will not only benefit from the versatility of the card, but also its speed. The miCard will transfer data at 480M bits per second, and throughput will improve over time. The miCards due out in the third quarter will be able to store 8G bytes of information, but the maximum capacity is expected to top out around 2048G bytes. The compatibility with both USB and MMC slots means most users won't need separate card readers anymore. MMC cards fit most consumer electronics, while USB connections are built into a wide range of IT hardware, including laptops, desktops, printers and home entertainment gear.

So far, 12 Taiwanese companies have signed on to manufacture the miCard, according to its inventor, the Industrial Technology Research Institute. Officials expect local companies to save US$40 million in licensing fees thanks to the card, in addition to profiting from sales. Taiwanese companies will not have to pay royalties to make miCards or related technology.

The companies already committed to making miCards include A-Data Technology, Asustek Computer, BenQ, Carry Computer Eng. Co., C-One Technology, DBTel, Power Digital Card Co., and RiCHIP. The specifications for the cards will be made available in June.

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Dan Nystedt

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