Toshiba to Launch Ultra-High-Speed SD Card Series

The second-largest supplier of flash memory says it will raise the performance bar this fall with ultra-fast cards for high-definition audio and video.

Toshiba revealed on Aug. 24 that it will launch two new series of secure digital, or SD, flash memory cards this fall that offer super-fast data transfer rates and read-write performance.

The so-called Toshiba "high-speed series" will offer a maximum data transfer rate of 5MB per second, while the "ultra-high-speed series" will push transfer rates to as high as 20MB per second—double the rate of any other Toshiba-brand SD card.

Both series will be rolled out first in Japan in October, then globally in November, a Toshiba spokesperson said.

Flash memory products are used for general solid-state storage, image file storage and audio for solid-state disk drives, digital cameras, audio appliances, set-top boxes and industrial storage.

/zimages/1/28571.gifExpect to see flash-based laptops, or "flashtops," in 2007. Click here to read more.

Last May, the SD Card Association—comprising several hundred companies globally that govern technical and specification standards for SD Memory Card applications—introduced the SD Speed Class, defining three minimum data transfer rates for next-generation SD cards:

  • Class 2 supports a minimum data transfer rate of 2MB per second;
  • Class 4 supports 4MB per second; and
  • Class 6 supports 6MB per second.
Toshiba is the first vendor to announce the launch of Class 6 products.

The high-speed series Speed Class 4 SD Cards and ultra-high-speed series Speed Class 6 SD Cards will both be made available in 512MB, 1GB and 2GB capacities.

The SD Speed Class will be clearly stated on the card and its packaging, allowing users to select the card that makers specify for use with their digital products. Applications will include video recording with high-performance digital cameras, the spokesperson said.

Toshiba expects Speed Class to become an integral part of all SD card specifications. Classifying standards for transfer rates will also ensure that SD Card specs continue to evolve to meet new market demands, such as high-speed capacity storage in support of digital video, the spokesperson said.

Toshiba said it intends to gradually transition its previous SD Card production to the new cards.

"The speed class is important to maximize performance for demanding applications and help the consumer choose the right card for their camera or camcorder," said Brian Kumagai, business development manager for NAND Flash for Irvine, Calif.-based Toshiba America Electronic Components.

TAECs parent company, Toshiba Corp., is headquartered in Tokyo.

The new SD memory card series will be exhibited at IFA 2006, the worlds largest consumer electronics trade fair, which will be held in Berlin Sept. 1-5.

The original SD memory card was jointly developed in 1999 by Toshiba, SanDisk and Matsushita Electric Industrial (best known for its Panasonic brand-name products).

SD memory cards have been widely adopted worldwide. Toshiba has shipped more than 200 million memory cards and is currently the worlds second-largest supplier of NAND Flash memory, behind Samsung.

The Toshiba SD Memory Card product line includes standard SD memory cards, as well as miniSD, microSD and SDHC cards.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...