The Parade of New Memory Card Formats Continues

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The market for removable memory cards is in a state of transition, with new types of cards being introduced regularly.

Just this week, Samsung announced the MMCmicro format, and now Lexar Media has unveiled the USB FlashCard.

This is designed to work with any industry-standard USB Type A socket, which means it can be used with most desktops and laptops, but at this time few handhelds have a USB socket.

Still, Lexar is working with connector manufacturers to offer an extended USB Type A socket to be used in handhelds and consumer electronics devices. These sockets would allow the USB FlashCard to be carried inside of the device, a requirement for portable devices.

USB FlashCard USB FlashCards will be 1.25 inches long, .5 inches wide, and 0.2 inches thick (31.75 mm by 12 mm by 4.5 mm).

In 2005, Lexar plans to introduce Full-Speed USB versions in 16 MB, 32 MB and 64 MB capacities, as well as Hi-Speed USB versions in 64 MB, 128 MB, 256 MB, 512 MB and 1 GB capacities. The Hi-Speed versions will have a 60 MB/s data transfer speed.

“USB flash drives have seen a tremendous success as external flash based Storage devices and are now the preferred medium of choice for a wide range of professional and consumer users for transferring data,” said Steffen Hellmold, General Manager of OEM Products, Lexar. “This new form factor enables the use of USB flash drives beyond computing applications, realizing the dream of connecting the worlds of computing, consumer and mobile applications through a universal USB FlashCard.”

Not the First

Lexar isn’t the first company to try to base a New Memory Card Format on USB.

Early this year, a group proposed the FISH (Flash Internal Semiconductor Hard-drives) standard, which was made up of memory cards that could be plugged into USB 2.0 ports.

Almost a year later, FISH sticks haven’t gained a foothold in the market. This is probably because there is already a bewildering array of memory card formats out there: SD, MMC, RS-MMC, CompactFlash, Memory Stick, xD, TransFlash, SmartMedia, and more.

Lexar will have to work hard in order for USB FlashCards to gain a toehold in this crowded market.

Thanks to robdawg for the tip.

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