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SanDisk releases new memory cards

The maker of removable flash-memory cards unveils an assortment of new small-size memory cards, including one that combines memory and wireless connectivity.

SanDisk, a maker of removable flash-memory cards, unveiled a assortment of new small-size memory cards Monday, including one that combines memory and wireless connectivity.

The range of products takes off from what the company had announced at this year's CeBit trade show.

The new range of Secure Digital cards announced at the Digital Experience Media Conference in New York includes a semiremovable TransFlash module with SanDisk's smallest-ever memory card, an SD with 1 gigabyte capacity, and a combination SD card with 256MB of memory and WLAN connectivity for handheld devices. SanDisk also released a number of MultiMediaCards compatible with mobile phones manufactured by different handset makers.

The 256MB+Wi-Fi SD combination, with a suggested price of $129, uses Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum wireless LAN (local area network) technology to give a bandwidth of up to 11mbps.

Cell phone handset makers such as Motorola, Sony-Ericsson and Japan's DoCoMo are already manufacturing phones that have slots for the SanDisk cards.

Within the next three years, the average multimedia cell phone should have 1GB of flash memory for add-on features such as camera phones, video camcorders and music players, Nelson Chan, general manager of SanDisk's retail business unit, said in a statement.

SanDisk said the new products will be available this quarter and in the third quarter from retail stores and distributors in the mobile phone channel worldwide.

Multimedia applications are expected to drive large increases in memory storage requirements for mobile phones as the market grows.

Meanwhile, the prices of flash memory chips that make up the memory cards are tumbling down as industry leaders Samsung Electronics and Toshiba prepare for a showdown with several new entrants in the field. For instance, industry trackers say the average price of 512MB flash chips has plummeted to $9 from a $21.50 peak in October, with resultant savings for consumers.