SD Cards Hit a Higher Capacity

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SanDisk has begun production of SD memory cards with a 1GB capacity and expects them to begin appearing on store shelves before the end of this month.

SD, or Secure Digital, cards are widely used in devices such as digital still cameras. The higher capacity will mean users with large data storage requirements won't have to carry around as many cards. The 1GB card should be able to accommodate around 2000 images taken at 1,600-pixel by 1,200-pixel resolution. It should also be able to store about nine hours of MPEG4 video or 16 hours of MP3 audio.

The company expects the cards to cost around $500, says Bob Goligoski, a spokesperson for SanDisk.

In Japan, Green House also said it plans to begin selling a 1GB SD card in late January, although the company did not announce pricing details.

Long Time Coming?

Launch of the 1GB SD cards come more than a year after the first prototype of such a card was shown. Matsushita Electric Industrial, better known by its Panasonic brand name, unveiled a working sample at the Ceatec exhibition in Japan in October 2002.

SanDisk followed with the announcement of its 1GB SD card in March 2003 at the CeBIT exhibition in Germany and said at the time said it planned to ship the card in the third quarter of 2003.

Matsushita, which along with SanDisk and Toshiba developed the SD card specification, says it expects its first cards to be available during the first half of this year.

The availability also brings SD into line with Sony's Memory Stick, which has been available at 1GB capacity for some time--albeit with some incompatibility with many existing products.

Fuji Photo Film, which co-developed the XD Picture Card, is expected to announce in the next few days that plans to ship 1GB versions of the XD card before the end of 2004.

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