Toshiba to lead group for wireless card

Company to form consortium to distribute and manage new SD card that Wi-Fi enables devices such as cameras and mobile phones.

SINGAPORE--Toshiba has announced plans to lead the formation of a consortium to drive the distribution of a new wireless card, dubbed FluCard, which was developed by local company Trek 2000 International.

At a media briefing here Wednesday, Hiroto Nakai, general manager and head of strategic business development at Toshiba, said the new group will comprise Japanese camera manufacturers and aim to promote and protect the intellectual property of FluCard.

Nakai declined to say which companies will be part of the consortium, noting that Toshiba will release the names "in due course".

A storage card built in the form of a Secure Digital (SD) card, FluCard enables the wireless transfer of digital images between devices that have SD card slots, such as cameras, video cameras and mobile phones. When inserted into the SD card slot, the card allows peer-to-peer file transfer between devices and in short, converts them into Wi-Fi-enabled devices. FluCard users can also tap existing wireless networks to upload photographs into a portal operated by Trek.

Henn Tan, executive chairman and CEO of Trek said the company is still working on pricing details of the device by gauging market response, but noted that it will be priced around US$100.

Slated to be marked first in Singapore next quarter, FluCard will subsequently be made available in Japan, Tan said.

Trek expects professional photographers to be among early adopters of the new card.

Toshiba is planning to appoint Trek as the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) for the FluCard and both companies will support each other in product development. Toshiba is a "significant shareholder" of Trek, according to the companies.

Trek is the developer of the Thumb Drive, a portable USB storage device.