CES: New SD standard will allow for 2TB cards

Storage on flash memory cards in devices such as digital cameras could rocket to 2TB if new specifications announced by an industry association on Wednesday are implemented.

The SD Association announced the SDXC (extended capacity) memory card specification, which could drive up the size of Secure Digital Memory cards to 2TB. Initial SD cards released by manufacturers based on the specification will provide storage capacity of 64GB, said Rex Sabio, co-chairman of SDA.

SDXC will also have a faster bus speed in devices with slots that support it. It will be able to transfer data from an SDXC slot to the media at 104MB per second, quadrupling current speeds, Sabio said. New SD cards based on the specification will probably come from manufacturers by the end of the year.

SD cards are removable media that can be slotted into devices to store images, video or other data. SD cards are used in many portable devices, such as cameras and gaming consoles, and the related miniSD and microSD formats are the most common removable memory for mobile phones.

SD media slots are available in 8,000 devices under 400 brands, SDA claims.

Faster bus speeds will bring faster recording time to camcorders that incorporate SDXC-based slots. The newer slots will also draw information from SD media more quickly so that mobile phones, gaming and navigation systems perform better, SDA said.

SDXC slots in devices will be backward compatible and support older forms of SD media, Sabio said.

SD cards currently come in many different form factors, from the size of a postage stamp to the smaller MiniSD and MicroSD cards. The SDXC standard is designed to fit into all existing form factors of SD media, Sabio said.

The announcement comes ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show, which will be held in Las Vegas Thursday through Sunday. SDXC products will not be shown at this year's CES, as the specification has yet to be released to manufacturers. That should happen by the end of the quarter, Sabio said. Devices with SDXC slots could make an appearance at next year's CES, Sabio said.

Nevertheless, SD storage technology is making its presence felt as a portable media option at CES. Toshiba is expected to show TVs with SD slots that can display movies directly from SD media.

Toshiba was among the original companies that founded the SDA in 2000. Today, more than 1,100 companies are members of the association.

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