By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: SanDisk has launched a new version of the SD flash memory card called SD High Capacity (SDHC) for cameras and digital devices which will support high capacities 4GB and greater, but the new card is not compatible with current SD card devices.

The SDHC memory card format will enable manufacturers to create flash memory cards up to 32GB, but unfortunately for consumers SDHC cards are not backwards compatible with the majority of existing SD card devices.

While identical in shape and size to standard SD cards, SDHC cards will only work with host devices displaying the SDHC logo. Consumers with current model SD card digital cameras and mp3 players who hoped to one day purchase an 8GB or even 32GB card will be disappointed.

Standard SD cards will not progress beyond their current 2GB limit, but SanDisk says consumers will soon need more storage space than can be provided with the current SD card specification.

“Demand for high capacity cards continues to increase as storage-intensive applications such as digital cameras and digital video camcorders capable of taking high-resolution pictures and recording high-quality video clips come into the mainstream,” said SanDisk retail product marketing manager, Susan Park.

The 4GB SDHC card can store more than 2,000 high resolution images, 1,000 mp3 songs and over eight hours of MPEG4 video.

The new format will have three speed classes to help consumers identify the minimum sustained write speed of SDHC cards: Class 2 for 2MB per second, Class 4 for 4MB per second and Class 6 for 6MB per second. Cards and host devices will carry a logo identifying their speed class.

SanDisk will launch its SDHC cards in Australia in the fourth quarter, and will bundle it with a MicroMate USB 2.0 reader.

“In order to provide the easiest and most compatible solution for 4GB and larger capacity SDHC cards in the market, SanDisk chose to bundle its new MicroMate USB 2.0 SD/SDHC compatible card reader with this new card,” said SanDisk vice president of consumer product marketing, Wes Brewer.

“We are confident that our customers will have the best user experience and highest value—dollar for dollar—anyone can offer at this time.”