SanDisk announces new secure digital format

Expansion card technology has been evolving the last few years, but it looks like the Secure Digital format is becoming fairly standard. SanDisk announced a new SDHC card that actually now requires new devices and readers to use the cards. Can we get a standard memory expansion technology that manufacturer's will stick to for a couple years so we can stop buying lots of memory cards?

SanDisk announced a new 4GB Secure Digital card today using the latest in flash technology. The new card is labeled a SD High Capacity (SDHC) card since it complies with the new SD 2.00 specification. The new specification developed by the SD Card Association was created for flash cards ranging from 4GB to 32GB and contains speed and performance requirements. It is great to see higher capacity cards coming out to support the higher resolution and better performance digital cameras and camcorders, but people also need to be aware that these new cards will not work in existing devices with secure digital slots.


The SDHC cards require SDHC compatible readers and devices to work, even though the cards are identical in size and shape to existing SD cards. SanDisk is bundling a cool USB MicroMate SDHC compatible (and backwards compatible to SD) card reader with the US$199.99 4GB SDHC card. I imagine there will be some confusion for a while until all standard SD devices are phased out for the SDHC devices and believe SanDisk tech support will be busy answering these types of questions from buyers trying to use these new cards in their camera or mobile device.

I am a big fan of standardization and have been pretty successful in sticking with the SD card format for my digital cameras and mobile devices. The Nokia devices have required me to purchase additional RS-MMC and now MMC Mobile cards (again same format, but different card specs), but at least they still come with a SD adapter to use a SD slot for reading the cards. Many Windows Mobile devices uses miniSD cards, which again come with SD adapters and the latest Nokia, the N93, actually now uses miniSD for memory expansion. I would like to see continued use of miniSD and SD card expansion media in gadgets and hope manufacturers continue to make devices using these slots. I am not a fan of the microSD format since these cards are getting to be almost too small to keep track of and manage. Sony of course has their Memory Stick format that I doubt they will ever give up and that is just one compromise Sony device owners will have to make.