Hitachi and Infineon Technologies have joined forces for the first time to develop what they call the world's smallest solid-state storage device, with a 16Mb card measuring "about the same size as a large postage stamp".
Aimed at the digital consumer application market, MultiMediaCard will be promoted as a new industry standard. They will cost about #50, and are expected to be out later this month. A ROM version of the card will be released later in the year
The 32Mb version of the card is expected to ship in the third quarter, although its price has yet to be set and it is likely to be bundled with other products.
The firms also plan to release a 64Mb version onto the market next year and a 128Mb model in 2001.
The card's main advantage is its innovative packaging technology, developed by Infineon, which allows 16Mb AND-type Flash memory cards to be stacked on top of one another into a single unit, producing high-speed and low-cost removable data storage.
Up to 30 cards - which are 3.25cm tall, 2.4cm wide and 1.4mm deep - can be stacked into one unit. A built-in serial port, combined with a lightweight and rugged shell, make the card ideal for portable applications such as mobile phones, pagers, laptops and digital cameras - a market expected to be worth #1.2 billion by 2005.
The firms intend to open the specification to third parties to enable value-adding, but as yet no licensing agreement has been arranged.
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