SanDisk Corporation today introduced two Hi-Speed USB 2.0, multi-card MobileMate(TM) card readers targeted at the rapidly expanding market for new mobile feature phones with memory card slots.
The readers, among the smallest multi-card readers in the world, are about the length and width of a stick of gum and slip easily into any pocket. The MobileMate SD+ 5-in-1 reader supports SD(TM), MiniSD(TM), MultiMediaCard(TM), RS-MMC(TM) and TransFlash(TM) while the 4-in-1 MobileMate MS+ reader has one slot for Memory Stick(TM), Memory Stick PRO(TM), Memory Stick Duo(TM) and Memory Stick PRO Duo(TM). The flash memory cards can be plugged directly into the readers. No card adapters are required.
Research reports from International Data Corp., a leading market research firm, estimate that about 600 million handsets will be sold in 2006 and 330 million (55 percent) of them will have slots for memory cards.
The new readers, which plug into computer USB ports, will be available worldwide starting in November at many of the phone outlets where SanDisk mobile card products are sold. Each reader has a suggested retail price of $19.99.
MobileMate readers are true "plug and play" due to USB Mass Storage Class (MSC) compliance when used with Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Mac OS 9.2.x+ and Mac OS 10.1.2+. The readers are fully compatible with those operating systems and also with Windows 98SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Mac OS 9.1.x+ and Mac OS Xv10.2+. No software installation is required except for Windows 98SE.
Each MobileMate will be sold with two plastic end caps. One cap has an attachment for a key ring, and the other has a clip to attach to a shirt pocket. The 5-in-1 MobileMate weighs 16 grams (0.6 ounces) and is 74 x 26 x 11 mm in size. The 4-in-1 reader weighs 14 grams (0.5 ounces) with a size of 64 x 26 x 11 mm.
256 Megabye TransFlash Module:
SanDisk today introduced the highest capacity yet for its small TransFlash(TM) memory module, a 256 megabyte (MB) unit that will help meet the demands of new feature phones for greater storage of digital music, video, digital photos and GPS navigation software. SanDisk expects to supply worldwide OEM and retail customers with the 256MB model starting in December, with pricing and exact availability varying according to geographic region.
Alan Niebel, primary analyst for Web-Feet Research, said "Phones that are capable of putting video on TransFlash modules will be able to capture and play back television broadcasts, sports and news clips, movie and music video trailers, and some advertisements, he added. Niebel forecasts that video stored in mobile phones could become one of the largest consumers of flash memory, reaching over $3.6 billion by 2009.
SanDisk expects approximately 40 handset models from several manufacturers to include TransFlash support in 2005.