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SD/miniSD: announcements and prospects

For some reason recently SecureDigital products and their smaller miniSD "subspecies" have attracted very much attention in the Web. Having obtained enough information on this, we decided to compile it into a single news.

First, let´s speak of the announcements. TwinMOS introduced 1GB SecureDigital card providing at least 6MB/s read and 4.8MB/s write speed. Therefore company´s complete series now includes 32, 64, 128, 256, 512 MB and 1 GB models. Cards´ specs fully meet the existing standard: 32x24x2.1mm size, 1.5g weight, 2.7V voltage. The only thing that draws attention is the write speed. Due to a new technology it fairly exceeds the standard 2MB/s. The most touching thing in this press release is a separate mention that company´s cards attract users not only by their light weight and small size, but also by meeting CPRM requirements. Well, copyright protection is noble, but the methods...

The second press release came from Matsushita Electric Industrial that unveiled 32, 64, and 128 MB miniSD cards scheduled for USA market to May and for Europe to the Autumn. More exactly it´s an official outside-Japan announcement dated to the release of Panasonic X700 that is to hit the shelves simultaneously with these memory cards. Meanwhile Japanese mass media informed on Panasonic 128MB cards as far back as in last October.

If you remember, miniSD cards are among the smallest removable media available today. Sized 21.5x20.1.4mm, they weigh about a gramme. As you can see, Panasonic cards are not an exception:

Name 32 MB miniSD 64 MB miniSD 128 MB miniSD
Model RP-SS032BU1K (USA), RP-SS32BE1K (Europe/Asia) RP-SS064BU1K (USA), RP-SS64BE1K (Europe/Asia) RP-SS128BU1K (USA), RP-SS128BE1K (Europe/Asia)
Capacity in bytes 31,080,448 63,520,768 128,352,256
MPEG4 movie length (384Kbps Fine) ~10 min ~20 min ~42 min
Still images (640x480 Fine) 220 440 880
Sound length (96Kbps) ~40 min ~1 hour 20 min ~2 hours 50 min
Throughput Up to 2MB/s
Size 21.5x20x.1.4mm
Weight ~1 g
Pins 11 (incl. 2 for future)

Similar to "senior" SD products, miniSD cards support copyright protection technology. I wonder if the company is in time with such capacities, because Kingmax, for example, announced 256MB miniSD late in December.

Finally, it´s interesting to look at the future of SD from the angle of the year 2004. At 3GSM World Congress SD Card Association (SDA) introduced the final variant of its vision of SD application in e-commerce — another effort to speed up cards´ market distribution — and also unveiled SD Maps specifications enabling mobile devices with SD slots to receive and store geographic maps actual for navigation systems, etc.

SD cards, including miniSD, according to estimations, were rather widely adopted primarily among mobile handset makers. This is how it looks in the regional model view:

Region Handset models Makers
Europe 10 6
USA 10 7
Japan 20 10
Asia 8 6

According to Gartner Dataquest, SD cards will dominate the market this year making 34% of all Flash media sales. Currently SD cards are used in 2027 models of consumer electronics offered in 31 categoties by 171 companies worldwide.

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