Though SD/MMC cards were once touted as being the smallest memory cards available, those days are long over. The use of even smaller versions of these formats is expected to increase in the near future.
What’s mainly driving this trend is the increasing popularity of smart phones. Though handheld designers have long struggled to make their creations small enough to meet users’ expectations, the size constraints on smart phones are even more stringent. Many designers have decided that a full SD or MMC card slot is too large, and have turned to the reduced-size versions.
At the CeBIT tradeshow, going on now in Germany, both SanDisk and Lexar Media announced that they are beginning to offer miniSD cards worldwide, after first releasing them in Japan.
miniSD is an extension of the SecureDigital (SD) memory format. miniSD cards take up approximately 60 percent less area in a host device than the standard SD card. This format was originally introduced at last year’s CeBIT show.
Lexar and SanDisk will both include an adapter to allow their miniSD cards to be used in devices with an SD card slot.
A 32 MB Lexar miniSD card is $29.99, a 64 MB card is $49.99, while a 128 MB card is $79.99.
SanDisk isn’t going to offer a 32 MB miniSD card, but it will sell a 256 MB version for $94.99.
The upcoming Motorola MPx220 is expected to include a miniSD card slot, and so is the MPx100 and Panasonic X700.
SanDisk also announced at CeBIT a line of Reduced-Size MultiMediaCards (RS-MMC).
At 24 by 18 by 1.4 mm, these are about half the size of a standard MMC card. With an adapter, they can be used in any full-sized MultiMediaCard slot as well as SD devices that support regular MMC cards.
RS-MMC also isn’t a new format. It was approved by the MMC Association back in 2002.
SanDisk’s line of RS-MMC cards will come in 32 MB, 64 MB, and 128 MB capacities. The company expects to begin shipping these in the second quarter of this year.