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SanDisk Intros Slate Of New Flash Memory Products

Cologne, Germany — Flash memory manufacturer SanDisk came to the Photokina show, held here this week, with souped-up flash memory cards for advanced photographers, new card readers, and a new version of its TV photo viewer with additional file support and a reduced price.

SanDisk’s Photo Album set-top box flash-reader lets users display digital still pictures and video on TVs in addition to playing MP3 music files through a television or home audio system. The device supports eight flash memory card formats, including CompactFlash Type I and II, SD, MMC, Memory Stick/Memory Stick PRO, SmartMedia and the xD-Picture Card through slots on the front.

The back of the unit sports two USB ports, one of which can be used to connect the device to a PC, the other to serve as a host port for USB flash drives.

The device also features a second CompactFlash card slot that serves as a quasi-permanent repository for files that users want long-term access to. Users can transfer image or video files to the auxiliary CompactFlash card by pressing a “store” button on the included remote control. Images are automatically resized to VGA resolution, allowing for maximum storage on the card.

The Photo Album supports JPEG, MP3, Motion JPEG and MPEG-1 file formats and will have a suggested retail price of $49.99.

The company also introduced its fastest flash cards to date, the Extreme III line, which includes CompactFlash, SD and Memory Stick PRO cards and is targeted toward advanced amateur and pro photographers.

The CompactFlash and SD cards have minimum read/write speeds of 20MBps while the Memory Stick PRO cards have a minimum read/write speeds of 18MBps. The new performance specs represent a doubling from the preceding Extreme product line, SanDisk said, and was made possible thanks to a new ESP (Enhanced Super-Parallel Processing) technology developed by the company in concert with leading camera vendors.

The SanDisk Extreme III cards, which range in capacity between 1GB and 4GB, have double the performance speeds of SanDisk’s predecessor Extreme product. They also feature a guaranteed operating temperature range from minus 13 F to 185 F. The cards will ship with a copy of RescuePRO data recovery software.

The cards will be available in 1GB, 2GB and 4GB capacities in October and November, and they will ship to principally higher-end photo retailers.

The SD card will be sold in a 1GB capacity at a suggested price of $139.99. The Memory Stick PRO in 1GB and 2GB will have suggested retails of $279.99 and $559.99, respectively.

The company also quadrupled the capacity of its Ultra II line. The line, which is geared toward consumers with higher-end digital cameras, will include an 8GB CompactFlash Type I card, a 4GB Memory Stick PRO and a 2GB SD card.

Each of the cards in the Ultra II line feature a minimum write speed of 9 MBps and a minimum read speed of 10MBps.

Ultra II CompactFlash cards are shipping now in capacities from 256MB to 2GB with suggested retails between $49.99 and $249.99. The 4GB capacity CompactFlash card will ship next month for a suggested $479.99 with an 8GB card following in November for a suggested $959.99.

Ultra II Memory Stick PRO in 256MB to 1GB is shipping now for a suggested $74.99 to $249.99. A 2GB and 4GB PRO card will ship in November for a suggested $479.99 and $959.99, respectively.

The Ultra II SD card, in 256MB and 512MB capacities, is available now for a suggested $64.99 and $89.99, respectively. A 1GB for $119.99 and a 2GB for $239.99 will ship in November.

To compliment the new cards, the company introduced three new USB 2.0 card readers, each featuring a one-step transfer button and Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 Starter Edition image organizing software.

The readers include the ImageMate 12-in-1, ImageMate 5-in-1 and ImageMate CompactFlash, and will all ship in October. The 12-in-1 reader supports card-to-card data transfers and comes with a docking station and short USB cable for a suggested $34.99. The 5-in-1 for $19.99 supports the Memory Stick/Memory Stick PRO, xD, SD and MMC card formats. The CompactFlash reader will also carry a $19.99 suggested retail.