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Smaller SD memory card on the horizon

MicroSD will be useful for mobile phones

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

TransFlash was proposed to the association several weeks ago by SanDisk for consideration as an industry standard called MicroSD. SanDisk is one of the original developers of the SD format along with Toshiba and 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," said a ScanDisk representative.

The approval process typically takes two months to complete. The SD Card Association said it plans to finalise the MicroSD format this Spring.

The TransFlash card is smaller than either of the two current SD card formats, SD and MiniSD. It measures 15x11x1mm and is similar in appearance to a mobile phone SIM card. The card's volume is 165mm2, 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 commercialised by SanDisk and a handful of cell phone makers, most notably Motorola, are using it in some handsets. Cards are available in capacities of 64MB and 128MB. ScanDisk’s representative said he expected around 50 handsets will use the format 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 miniaturise 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 Scandisk’s representative.


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