We're used to seeing imaging devices and notebooks supporting SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) cards, which offer storage capacities up to 32GB. You can buy a 32GB SDHC card for around £60, although a fast Class 10 (10MB/sec minimum write speed) card suitable for high-performance HD video recording will cost at least double that.
Last year saw the announcement (at CES in January) of the next-generation SDXC (Secure Digital eXtended Capacity) format, which caters for capacities up to a massive 2TB. Panasonic, one of the founders of the SD Card Association, recently announced 48GB and 64GB Class 10 SDXC cards priced at an eye-watering $449.95 (£291) and $599.95 (£388) respectively. A 64GB card can hold about 8 hours of HD video.
SanDisk Ultra SDXC: 64GB for £259.99
SanDisk has just weighed in with a slightly less expensive Class 4 (minimum write speed 4MB/sec) 64GB card, the Ultra SDXC, which will cost £259.99. The Ultra SDXC, whose read speed is quoted at up to 15MB/sec, will ship in the UK from 26 February.
When we say 'slightly less expensive', bear in mind that the Ultra SDXC's £4-per-gigabyte compares distinctly unfavourably to about £2.50/GB for an 80GB Intel X-25M solid-state drive or less than 10p/GB for a mainstream 1TB hard drive.
Devices that support SDXC cards are currently thin on the ground, but that's expected to change as new camcorders, cameras, phones, notebooks and more come to market through 2010. SanDisk's own ImageMate card readers, for example, are SDXC compatible if connected to a PC whose OS supports the exFAT file system. At least one notebook, the Asus Eee PC T101MT multitouch tablet, includes an SDXC card reader.
SDXC cards are expensive right now, and Gerry Edwards, SanDisk's senior product marketing manager, EMEA, told ZDNet UK that the company expects demand to be low at first. However, as more SDXC-compatible imaging devices appear and HD video becomes the norm, that's bound to change.