A group of a dozen computer, communications and photography companies has established a standard for a sub-compact removable Flash memory storage device that it hopes will be adopted as an industry standard. The proposed standard is intended to simplify the integration of such tiny storage devices in digital cameras, Personal Digital Assistants and cellular phones. The consortium is headed by Flash storage card maker SanDisk Corp, which changed its name this summer from SunDisk after pressure from Sun Microsystems Inc. Other members include Apple Computer Inc, Canon Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co, Eastman Kodak Co, Motorola Inc, Seagate Technology Inc and NEC Corp. SanDisk released a Flash device the size of a postage stamp earlier this year which stores 32Mb, and a single-chip AT attachment controller. It is compatible with MS-DOS, Windows, Windows95 and OS/2 operating systems and can store up to 15Mb of non-compressed data or 30Mb of compressed data on one cartridge. SanDisk said that its Flash memory cartridge could significantly cut the price of digital cameras, which currently cost around $1,000 each. The cartridges enable files to be transferred from the camera directly onto a computer’s hard disk and then transmitted over telephone lines. Polaroid Corp is also rumoured to be introducing a camera to compete with the Kodak by the end of the year. Another rival and incompatible memory-board proposal, the Minicard, which been developed by a consortium of semiconductor and systems companies will also hit the market by the end of the year. Philips Electronics NV and Intel Corp will produce the devices. Minicards with 64Kb to 128Kb of one time programmable or read-only memory and will be available as dynamic RAM and static RAM processors. Another competing technology will also enter the market later next year. Produced by Toshiba Corp it is a Solid State Floppy Disk Card which is scheduled to go into production by January.
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