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SanDisk pictures memory cards for less

The company hopes its less-expensive option for digital cameras will encourage more people to take more photos.

SanDisk thinks that its line of less-expensive memory cards for digital cameras will encourage more people to snap more digital photos.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., memory card marker on Wednesday unveiled the Shoot and Store memory card, which it says will sell at stores such as supermarkets and drug stores for prices starting at about $15.

To date, many consumers buying new digital cameras have opted for single, higher-capacity memory cards. But by offering inexpensive memory cards at the stores consumers frequent and where they might already shop for film or process pictures, SanDisk hopes that it can inspire them to take large numbers of photos--using Shoot and Store cards. Then, as the product's name suggests, the company would like to see people using the cards as digital negatives of sorts, to permanently store images instead of downloading them to a PC.

The company argues that more readily available, less-expensive memory cards could also lead to more people using digital cameras.

"With this new product line, we believe that we've lowered the cost of entry for digital film and that we're bringing the benefits of digital photography to people who may have been reluctant to make the switch," Wes Brewer, SanDisk's senior director of retail product line marketing, said in a statement. "Now, we believe that everyone from soccer moms to senior citizens can enjoy taking digital photos without the hassle of transferring their images to another medium via a PC."

SanDisk has already begun marketing its 50-picture Shoot and Store card. It includes 32MB of storage capacity and sells for a suggested retail price of $14.99. The company plans to follow up by midyear with a 100-picture, 64MB card for $24.99. The number of photos each card will accept can ultimately be lower, if a camera is set to a higher resolution.

SanDisk now sells its earlier least-expensive 32MB memory card for $24.99, along with its 64MB card for $34.99, via its Web site. Its higher-capacity cards, which hold 256MB of data or more, range from about $70 to about $600, for 2GB card.

Because it wants the Shoot and Store line to be readily available to consumers, the company said it has been looking at a number of stores. It is test-marketing the cards in 800 stores, including Kroger supermarkets, and has signed a deal with Rite Aid drug stores. The move into food and drug stores is a first for SanDisk, the company said.

SanDisk said it expects the lower prices to translate into fewer worries for customers, when they drop them off to order prints.

The first Shoot and Store cards will come in Compact Flash, Secure Digital and SmartMedia formats. Other formats, such as Memory Stick Pro, will arrive later in the year, SanDisk said.

SanDisk will sell separately a CD-size plastic jewel case for storing several cards, as well as its Digital Photo Viewer, which will allow digital images to be viewed on a television.