Wireless Cards All the Rage at CES

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Wireless cards, especially those built around the Secure Digital (SD) standard, seem to be all the rage at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. While CompactFlash remains strong in the wireless LAN arena, SD is knocking on the door…loudly. The same goes for wireless personal area networking, where SD cards built around Bluetooth technology outnumber CompactFlash cards.

Here are a few announcements from CES.


Wireless LAN Cards

SanDisk SanDisk, a leader in memory cards for electronic devices, announced its new Connect product line that includes CompactFlash (CF) and Secure Digital (SD) cards that combine 802.11b wireless technology with up to 256MB of storage. With prices ranging from $100 to $150, these cards are sure to fulfill the need of handheld users with SDIO capable devices. (Full details can be found in SanDisk’s press release .)

Socket Communications also announced its Secure Digital Wireless LAN card for Pocket PCs, based on SyChip’s Secure Digital I/O WLAN Card Design. SyChip has been working on an SD 802.11b card since early 2002 and has licensed its design to Socket. (Full details can be found in Socket’s press release .)


Bluetooth Cards

While Bluetooth cards from Palm and Toshiba are already available, Unigen says it is working on a Secure Digital Bluetooth card that will cost less than $50. And at 40 millimeters long, it will also be smaller than other Bluetooth cards. Expect a Pocket PC compatible card in March or April; no date has been set for the Palm OS compatible version.

In an interesting side note, a Unigen representative at CES told Brighthand that all major Pocket PC makers are committed to putting SDIO in their future handhelds. Currently, some Pocket PC models, such as the HP iPAQ h1910, don’t support SDIO, which means they won’t be able to use any of these cards.

Finally, Anycom is releasing a Bluetooth SD card. Licensed from Toshiba and expected to be out in February, Anycom’s card will be smaller than current cards and cost $109.

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