Smaller SD memory card on the horizon

SanDisk's TransFlash memory card format is close to being adopted as a member of the SD (Secure Digital) family of cards, the SD Card Association said Monday.

The TransFlash memory card format developed by SanDisk is close to being adopted as a member of the SD (Secure Digital) family of cards, the SD Card Association said Monday.

TransFlash was proposed to the association several weeks ago by SanDisk for consideration as an industry standard called MicroSD, Eli Harari, president and CEO of SanDisk said in Tokyo in February. SanDisk is one of the original developers of the SD format along with Toshiba and Matsushita Electric Industrial, which is better known as Panasonic.

"We believe very strongly in global standards, so even though we developed TransFlash we have proposed it to the SD Association as MicroSD. That means competitors of ours could license it, just like they can license SD," he said.

The approval process typically takes two months to complete, according to Harari. The SD Card Association said Sunday it plans to finalize the MicroSD format this Northern spring.

The TransFlash card is smaller than either of the two current SD card formats, SD and MiniSD. It measures 15 millimeters (mm) by 11mm by 1mm and is similar in appearance to a cell phone SIM (subscriber identification module) card. The card's volume is 165 square millimeters, which is about three and a half times smaller than MiniSD and about a tenth of that of the SD card.

The format has already been commercialized by SanDisk and a handful of cell phone makers, most notably Motorola, are using it in some handsets. Cards are available in capacities of 64M bytes and 128M bytes. Harari expects around 50 handsets will use the format or MicroSD at the end of this year.

As proposed, the TransFlash and MicroSD formats will be compatible with each other and the MicroSD will also be able to be used in SD slots via an adapter.

The card format is seen as particularly advantageous in devices such as cell phones where space is at a premium and there is constant pressure to miniaturize devices or fit more technology into the same space.

"In cell phones, I believe MiniSD and TransFlash will become the primary standard and hopefully the only standard," said Harari.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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