2TB Memory Cards By 2010?

Storage of consumer electronics could be boosted by as much as 2TB with the arrival of a new generation of memory cards.

That’s the expectation of the SD Association, which suggest Secure Digital memory cards based on the new SDXC (extended capacity) specification could be out as early as next year.

Initially they would offer a capacity of 64GB but this is expected to climb quickly to 2TB.

The SDA announced the SDXC specification at the start of the year without being able to specify when products would become available.

However, companies such as Panasonic have already announced plans to develop memory cards based on the new specification.

The SD Association has about 1,100 member companies, including Toshiba and SanDisk, involved in the design, manufacture and sale of products using SD technology.

Joseph Unsworth, research director, NAND Flash Semiconductors, at Gartner, said SDXC combines a higher capacity roadmap with faster transfer speeds as a means to exploit NAND flash memory technology.

He said it makes a compelling choice for portable memory storage and interoperability.

"With industry support, SDXC presents manufacturers with the opportunity to kindle consumer demand for more advanced handset features and functionality in consumer electronics behind the ubiquitous SD interface," he said.

SD cards can be slotted into consumer electronics devices to store images, video or other data.

The new specification will replace SD slots and media based on the older SDHC specification commonly used in devices.

The SDXC specification upgrades the storage capacity and cuts the data-transfer bottlenecks that plagued earlier specifications.

Shigeto Kanda, general manager at Canon, said SDXC is a large-capacity card that can store more than 4,000 RAW images, which is the uncompressed mode professionals use.

He said that capacity, combined with the exFAT file system, increases movie recording time and reduces starting time to improve photocapturing opportunities.

"Improvements in interface speed allow further increases in continuous shooting speed and higher resolution movie recordings," he said.

"As a memory card well suited to small-sized user-friendly digital cameras, the SDXC specification will help consumers realize the full potential of our cameras."

The new slots will be backward compatible and support older SD media. However, older SD slots will not support new media.

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