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SDXC cards will be available in capacities up to 2TB

The Secure Digital (SD) format has come a long way since its original inception. Originally conceived as an offshoot of the Multimedia Card (MMC) format, SD cards have matured over the years into the Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) versions that are prevalent today for capacities greater than 2GB.

Current SDHC cards are artificially limited to just 32GB, which means that a new standard is being ushered in to boost capacities into the stratosphere. As a result, the new Secure Digital eXtended Capacity (SDXC) format was introduced today at CES. SDXC cards have a theoretical maximum capacity of 2TB and theoretical maximum read/write speeds of 300MB/sec.

The first SDXC cards will hit the market during the first quarter of 2009; however, these first generation cards will have a maximum transfer rate of 104 MB/sec.

"SDXC combines a higher capacity roadmap with faster transfer speeds as a means to exploit NAND flash memory technology as a compelling choice for portable memory storage and interoperability," said Gartner's Joseph Unsworth, research director, NAND Flash Semiconductors. "With industry support, SDXC presents manufacturers with the opportunity to kindle consumer demand for more advanced handset features and functionality in consumer electronics behind the ubiquitous SD interface."

"SDXC is a large-capacity card that can store more than 4,000 RAW images, which is the uncompressed mode professionals use, and 17,000 of the fine-mode most consumers use. That capacity, combined with the exFAT file system, increases movie recording time and reduces starting time to improve photo-capturing opportunities," said Canon General Manager Shigeto Kanda. "Improvements in interface speed allow further increases in continuous shooting speed and higher resolution movie recordings. As a memory card well suited to small-sized user-friendly digital cameras, the SDXC specification will help consumers realize the full potential of our cameras."

We should expect to first seeing SDXC cards from the usual suspects such as SanDisk, Lexar, and Kingston. SDXC will more than likely carry a hefty premium over current SDHC cards, but expect to see that price differential close with time.

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RE: SDXC Makes Bluray Disc Obsolete
By chmilz on 1/7/2009 1:19:15 PM , Rating: 1
Blu-Ray is already obsolete, due to digital streaming. Of course, bandwidth and audio-quality will need to improve before it's BETTER than BD, but it's already en route to supplant physical media altogether.

RE: SDXC Makes Bluray Disc Obsolete
By Jimbo1234 on 1/7/2009 1:47:59 PM , Rating: 2
I think I said BD's death is on the horizon a few months ago. Now with the 32GB spec limitation gone, it's only a matter of time (and probalby not that far off) before it will make more sense to put a movie on a "postage stamp" than on a disc. The music industry is already considering replacing the CD with SD.

The only real issue may be shelf life. I'm not sure which is better yet: solid state, or non-writable/OEM optical.

I cannot wait until these things are available. Offsite backup will become much easier. Right now I lug around an external harddrive to work with my pictures, music, video, etc. about once per month. You know, in case the house burns down. But I do not have 2 of these. So one day per month there is a chance I could lose near everything. Backing up to DVD would require too many discs, and BD, well, it seems too expensive. Again, I cannot wait for even several hundred GB cards.

By psychobriggsy on 1/7/2009 3:15:12 PM , Rating: 2
There is a significant price difference between pressing a CD and making an SD card. The problem is that the former is cents - and the cost of pressing bluray will drop to cents as well, whereas the latter is probably a dollar for a 1GB card. Problem is that it will always be a dollar, you'll just get more storage on it. Bonus is that non-sold albums can be rewritten instead of trashed - but probably cheaper to throw them away still.

Now a 2GB SD card with a 24-bit 96kHz (good-as-) lossless album and a 256kbps AAC for the portable player would be really handy. Let's get away from archaic CDs with their bitdepth issues with heavily compressed (audio, not file) music like Death Magnetic. Time to move to a new format I say, and maybe the mechanical CD's day is up. No more CD players to go wrong...

And yes, I think that SD is a viable competitor to BluRay in the long run (maybe Sony should have left the slot in all PS3s!). I'm not sold on digital downloads being the immediate future replacement for physical media however.

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