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Goodbye SmartMedia? Olympus and Fujifilm Bow New Format

MELVILLE, N.Y. – Olympus and Fujifilm announced yesterday that they have jointly developed a new flash memory card format, called xD-Picture Card, which they claim will have the smallest form factor of any digital memory card currently on the market.

The card, which is road-mapped to reach 8GB capacities, will be available in the fall in 16, 32, 64, and 126MB capacities, with a 256MB card available for the holidays and 1GB and higher capacities in 2003. Olympus and Fujifilm will compliment the format’s release with new compatible cameras in the fall.

Both companies currently support the SmartMedia format, which has lagged behind both CompactFlash and SD in terms of capacity and compatibility. As digital camera resolutions have increased (meaning the file size of the images have ballooned), the two companies have sought a new format to keep pace.

“As the needs of digital camera users evolve and the demand for greater memory capacity combines with the necessity for compatibility, Olympus and Fuji are responding with a new media designed to grow along with the market and meet the challenges of tomorrow,” said John Knaur, product manager, Digital Consumer Products Group, Olympus.

According to Knaur, the company will continue to supply SmartMedia to the market.

“Olympus has been a supporter of SmartMedia in our digital cameras since the introduction of our first digital camera in 1997, and we plan to continue distributing this media for our customers,” Knaur said.

According to a joint announcement from both companies, the new xD-Picture Card format will be compatible with current SmartMedia cameras and will also come with a CompactFlash card adapter so that the format can be used in cameras accepting CompactFlash.