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Cards designed for computers, PDAs

PDAs and PCs got a step closer with Intel's new flash memory card.

Digital appliances and PCs took a step closer together today as Intel announced plans to deliver its Series 100 Flash Memory Miniature Card for transferring audio and images from handheld electronic devices to DOS and Windows 95-based PCs.

About 35 square millimeters in size and 3.5 millimeters thick, the Miniature Card is designed to provide a common storage design for use in PCs and consumer electronics devices such as digital cameras, digital audio recorders, and personal digital assistants (PDAs).

Miniature Cards let a consumer electronics device--such as a digital camera--exchange data with a PC in the same manner that PCs can exchange data using floppy disks. The card will also be used to record and store incoming messages on future cellular phones even when the phone is turned off, Intel said.

The cards will be available in 2MB and 4MB versions. Both Konica and Dictaphone have already announced their intentions to use the cards: Konica in a digital camera by the end of the year and Dictaphone in digital portable voice recorders.

The read-write speed of the Miniature Card is comparable to existing flash memory storage cards, Intel said. For the time being, users will need an adapter to plug the card into a PC's PCMCIA slot, but Intel is working with other companies to produce a separate Miniature Card slot on the computer keyboard.

Intel begins shipping the card in volume this quarter. OEM prices are $39 per card in batches of 10,000 for the 2MB version, and $69 per card for the 4MB version.

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