Qualcomm, SanDisk team on flash formats

Hoping to jump-start removable storage in cell phones, the chipmaker and the data-storage company add support for two popular flash memory card formats to Qualcomm's chipsets.

Richard Shim Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Richard Shim
writes about gadgets big and small.
Richard Shim
2 min read
Hoping to jump-start the market for removable storage in cell phones, chipmaker Qualcomm and data-storage company SanDisk have added support for two popular flash memory card formats to Qualcomm's chipsets for mobile phones.

Starting with Qualcomm's Mobile Station Modem MSM6100 chipsets and including the MSM6250, MSM6275, MSM6300 and MSM6500 chipsets, phones using these chips will support SD cards, the companies said Tuesday. The support means phone owners will be able to store data such as photos and music on the cards, which can hold up to 256MB of information.

SanDisk, which sells the cards, worked with Qualcomm to make the chipsets and formats compatible.

"Qualcomm's support of the miniSD/SD card interface in their latest generation chipsets will rapidly accelerate the acceptance of removable storage for mobile phones," Bo Ericsson, vice president of marketing for SanDisk, said in a statement.

In 2003, Secure Digital cards were the No. 2 market share leader with 27 percent of the market behind CompactFlash cards. The format is expected to be the market leader with 41 percent by 2007, according to Gartner. About 113.5 million cards were shipped in 2003, and 138.8 million are expected to ship in 2007.

MiniSD cards target mobile phones and have a compact size, about the size of a thumbnail. Secure Digital cards are intended for larger devices, such as digital cameras and MP3 players and are about the size of a postage stamp.

"This should give SD more influence in the mobile phone market, which is expected to be a major driver for the flash card market in the coming years," said Joseph Unsworth, an analyst with research firm Gartner.

Luis Pineda, vice president of product management for Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, said in a statement that "the collaboration between Qualcomm's chipsets and SanDisk's storage solutions will increase the convenience of storing information on 3G CDMA (code division multiple access) wireless devices."