SanDisk Corp. has begun production of SD (Secure Digital) memory cards with a 1G-byte capacity and expects them to begin appearing on store shelves before the end of this month.
SD cards are widely used in devices such as digital still cameras and the higher capacity will mean users with large data storage requirements won't have to carry around as many cards. The 1G-byte card should be able to accommodate around 2,000 images taken at 1,600-pixel by 1,200-pixel resolution or around nine hours of MPEG4 video or around 16 hours of MP3 audio.
The company expects the cards to cost around US$500, said Bob Goligoski, a spokesman for SanDisk.
In Japan Green House Co. Ltd. also said it plans to begin selling a 1G-byte SD card in late January although did not announce pricing details.
Launch of the 1G-byte SD cards come more than a year after the first prototype of such a card was shown. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., better known by its Panasonic brand name, unveiled a working sample at the Ceatec exhibition in Japan in October 2002. SanDisk followed with the announcement of its 1G-byte SD card in March 2003 at the CeBIT exhibition in Germany and said at the time said it planned to ship the card in the third quarter of 2003.
Matsushita, which along with SanDisk and Toshiba Corp. developed the SD card specification, says it expects its first cards to be available during the first half of this year.
The availability also brings SD into line with Sony Corp.'s Memory Stick, which has been available at 1G-byte capacity for some time albeit with some incompatibility with many existing products. Fuji Photo Film Co. Ltd., which co-developed the XD Picture Card, is expected to announce in the next few days that plans to ship 1G-byte versions of the XD card before the end of 2004.