Toshiba announced it's reached the 32GB frontier with SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) flash memory cards, a successor to the widely used SD format that extends to bigger sizes.
Don't get too excited, though. The 32GB card won't go on sale until January. But a 16GB model will show up in October.
A lot of folks with digital cameras have trouble filling up a 1GB SD card, but high capacities are useful. For one thing, they make flash-based video cameras more feasible. For another, some people like to leave libraries of photos on their cameras so they can hold impromptu slide shows. And some high-end cameras, such as Canon's new EOS-1Ds Mark III, support SDHC as well as the bulkier but currently higher-capacity CompactFlash standard. That's a 21.1-megapixel camera, and its users are likely to shoot unprocessed "raw" files that are roughly three times the size of a JPEG, so it'll gobble up 32GB in a studio shoot in no time flat.
Toshiba also announced an 8GB microSDHC--a smaller format that uses the same communication protocols--that will ship in January. Toshiba sells the NAND flash memory chips themselves as well as flash memory cards.
Also Wednesday, Delkin Devices announced a new batch of CompactFlash cards--1GB costing $80, 2GB for $110, 4GB for $180 and 8GB for $300. Their claim to fame: 305x transfer rates, or 45MB per second. Of course, that's the maximum speed for offloading data to your PC--digital cameras rarely can get anywhere close. But that's slowly changing too--the 1Ds Mark III supports the same high-speed Ultra Direct Memory Access (UDMA) transfer technology as the new Delkin cards.