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Memory Card Confusion

Boot Camp feature for Monday, June 23, 2003

Memory card confusion. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Digital cameras and digital music players are great devices... but for lots of consumers... they can lead to digital dizziness. The problem is the variety of memory card formats that are used. Smart Media, Compact Flash, Secure Digital, Memory Stick, XD... .and some card formats have different flavors. Secure Digital or SD seems to be the fastest growing format... growing its market share from just 4 percent at the beginning of last year to 23 percent now. That's ahead of Sony's Memory Stick... and just behind market leading Compact Flash. John Burnham of Panasonic is the US marketing chairman for the SD Association...

"SD is superior technology both in terms of capacity, we're shipping 512 megabytes today, moving to one gigabyte by the end of the year. The transfer rate, it's ten megabytes per second on the 512 and 256 cards and that'll move to 20 megabytes per second on the one gigabyte and above cards. Now that's important as you move to more video applications, you need that higher transfer rate."

Buying consumer electronic devices that use the same format makes a lot of sense... to get the most use out of high capacity cards. Burnham says while Sony sticks to its Memory Stick... in all of its PCs, cameras, PDAs and even TVs...

"With the SD Association we're working with 550 companies to make SD the defacto standard much like VHS was."

One bit of good news for consumers, prices for memory cards of all kinds, have continued to fall. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.