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Home >> Memory Cards Merge With USB Drives
Line expansions were the order of the day for flash-memory manufacturers at the PMA trade show, held here on Feb. 20-23. The pixel-packing cards are also evolving — both SanDisk and Delkin Devices introduced combination SD/USB drive products to pre-empt Lexar’s efforts to market a new flash-memory card format built around a USB flash drive.
Delkin Devices introduced its own riff on SanDisk’s USB-enabled SD cards with its SD-Xtra. The SD card offers a built-in USB 2.0 flash drive. It will be available in 128MB to 1GB capacities. With the removable cover installed, the card plugs into any standard SD or MMC card slot. When the cover is removed, the card functions as a USB flash drive.
The USB drive clocks in with a read/write speed of over 10MBps; the SD card features data speeds over 7MBps. Delkin will ship a 128MB and 256MB card in March for a suggested $39.99 and $59.99, respectively. A 512MB and 1GB will ship in the second quarter, the company said.
Kingston Technologyunveiled six new flash-memory products at the show, including an MMCplus card based on the high-speed MMC card format. MMCplus cards will be available in 256MB, 512MB and 1GB capacities for a suggested $34, $62 and $109, respectively.
The company also upped the capacities in its standard MMC cards to 256MB, its Hi-Speed SD cards to 1GB, and the DataTraveler USB flash drive to 1GB. All new capacity cards ship this month, for a suggested $34, $109 and $99, respectively.
Lexar Media expanded its Kodak-branded lineup of flash memory cards with the addition of miniSD, Reduced Size MMC (RS-MMC) and MMCmobile cards. The mobile cards will include adapters allowing them to work with their full-size compatriots.
The miniSD cards and RS-MMC cards will ship in March; the MMCmobile cards will be available this summer. All will be available in capacities ranging from 128 MB to 512 MB; pricing has not been determined.
Panasonic announced an expansion of its high-speed line of SD cards with the addition of a high-speed 256MB card. The card offers a read/write speed of 2MBps. It will ship in April for a suggested $44.99.
SanDiskadded a 2GB card to its Memory Stick PRO Duo line and announced it will offer PRO Duo in its Ultra II line of flash products geared toward higher resolution, higher performance digital cameras.
Both the 2GB PRO Duo standard card and the Ultra II series cards (which will include the new 2GB card) will ship in the spring.
The Ultra II PRO Duo cards will be available in three capacities: 512MB for a suggested $119.99, 1GB for $209.99, and 2GB for $479.99. These cards have a minimum read/write speeds of 10MBps.
The standard 2GB PRO Duo will include a Memory Stick adapter and will retail for a suggested $359.99.
SanDisk also provided more details for the SD card with built-in USB port that it announced at International CES. The card will fall into the company’s Ultra II line of high-end memory cards and will be called SD Plus. The card works in any SD slot and can open to reveal a USB 2.0 pin that can be used in any USB port, allowing it to function as both memory card and USB flash drive. When used as a flash drive, the unit offers an LED that blinks during data transfer.
SanDisk plans to ship a 512MB and 1GB card in April for a suggested $109.99 and $149.99, respectively.
Finally, the company augmented its Shoot & Store line of flash-memory products aimed at mass market retail locations that were heretofore not flash distributors, like supermarkets and drug stores. The company added a 128MB CompactFlash card, billed as a “200-picture” card, based on the number of 1-megapixel images it can hold. It will retail for a suggested $19.99.
The company will also market a version of its Photo Album TV viewer under the Shoot & Store brand, for a suggested $49.99.
In a further effort to drive photo archiving on flash memory cards, the company introduced plastic CD-sized jewel cases that can store up to four CompactFlash cards or eight SD or xD-Picture cards.
The cases will be sold with two 32MB cards for a suggested $19.99. The cases contain a soft plastic sleeve insert with slots for the cards, as well as a sticker indexing system to label each card. SanDisk will also sell stand-alone jewel cases at a later date for a suggested retail price “under $5,” the company said. The new Shoot & Store products ship in March.
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