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Samsung launches tiny memory card for mobiles

The company's latest removable storage product is only a quarter of the size of a standard multimedia memory card. Photo: Samsung's shrinking memory card

In a flash, Samsung has unveiled its latest removable storage product, and it's only a quarter of the size of a standard multimedia memory card.

The device is a cut-down version of the multimedia memory card, or MMC, that it hopes to see deployed in future mobile phones.

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The MMCmicro measures 12 millimeters by 14mm by 1.1mm. This makes it a quarter the size of a standard MMC (which measures 24mm by 32mm by 1.4mm) and about a third the size of the reduced-size MMC (measuring 24mm by 18mm by 1.4mm).

Reduced-size MMCs were launched in 2002 and aimed at the mobile-device market, but Samsung says MMCmicro will offer significant advantages as mobile phones become smaller and more powerful.

"Despite its exceptionally small size, the Samsung MMCmicro has proven to be highly reliable in delivering excellent performance through extensive testing," the company said in a statement earlier this week.

Initially, MMCmicro cards will only be available in 32MB, 64MB and 128MB sizes. Samsung says data can be read off the cards at 10MB per second and written to them at 7MB per second. The interface between card and handset can theoretically support a maximum transfer speed of 26MB per second.

The emergence of 3G mobile networks is driving manufacturers to design handsets with extra functionality, which often creates extra demand for storage. The latest Sharp 3G phone to reach Europe, the 902SH, includes a 2-megapixel camera, for example.

Eventually, it may be commonplace for more advanced mobile phones to include hard drives. Last week, Samsung demonstrated a mobile phone with a 1-megapixel camera, two color screens and a 1.5GB, 2.5-centimeter hard drive.

Samsung says MMCmicro will go into mass production in early 2005.

Graeme Wearden of ZDNet UK reported from London.