SanDisk has been a manufacturer of flash cards and portable media for many years. They produce flash memory in every form factor, the latest being mini-SD. There are currently many different form factors, and have reduced in size over the years. They have become pretty standardized, as 6-in-1 and even 8-in-1 card readers are widely available for PCs and laptops. These readers allow access to your flash memory, no matter what type you have. So why introduce a new standard?
SanDisk introduced the miniSD card on March 13, 2003, and was designed to increased the storage capacity needs of the mobile phone market, which benefited the most from the smallest form factor. These media-enabled phones now offer storage-intensive features like digital cameras, video capture, MP3 players, and even video games.
The miniSD card is 21.5 mm long, 20mm wide and 1.4 mm thick, occupying a volume of 602 cubic mm. The new format was developed by the three original developers of the original SD card: Toshiba, Matsushita and SanDisk.
SanDisk claims the miniSD card offers significant savings in card area and volume, which are two critical design parameters as mobile phones are miniaturized. The miniSD card saves more than 40% of the printed circuit board over standard SD cards in less than 60% of the space. Windows SmartPhones use this memory format, and more miniaturized phones with multimedia features.
A Word from SanDisk
“The 1GB miniSD card provides a level of storage that significantly enhances the features and usability of these full-featured mobile phones,” said Nelson Chan, executive vice president and general manager of SanDisk’s consumer and handset business. “For example, with a 1GB card you can store approximately 16 hours of MP3 songs, record up to several hours of MPEG-4 video or take more than 2000 digital photos on a 1-megapixel mobile phone. With that level of capability, consolidating music, video, digital camera and other key features into the mobile phone platform is much more meaningful and powerful.” According to IDC, the global market for mobile phones with card slots is expected to increase to more than 258 million units by 2006, as manufacturers continue to add features to phones that increase their storage requirements. In addition to increasing available memory, a removable storage card provides greater interoperability with other portable consumer electronics devices, an important feature as mobile phones converge with other portable devices.
The main benefit of the miniSD card is that is electrically compatible with the existing SD standard, and uses the same SD interface. The same security features remain intact. The only difference is the physical interface, which is easily changed using a miniSD to SD card adapter supplied with every miniSD card. Using this adapter, the miniSD fits into any device that takes full-size SD memory.
The SanDisk miniSD 1GB memory card comes in a blister pack. The blister pack is easy to pop open (unlike many sealed blister packs) and is hinged at the bottom and opens like a book. Inside is the miniSD card, a full-size SD adapter, and a folded information booklet. There is also a full-size plastic carrying case for the adapter. The miniSD card itself does not have a physical lock tab, but the standard SD adapter does, which will prevent accidental writing or formatting of the module. The miniSD module fits into the adapter easily, and has a satisfying feel when docked (almost a slight click). The miniSD card feels notched into place, but removes easily with a slight tug. Other than that, it looks and works just like any other standard SD card. I’ve never accidentally removed the miniSD from the adapter when removing the main card.