The SD Association develops and publishes technical standards for SD Card technology, and promotes the use of the technology. SD Cards are compact data storage devices used to store digital files, such as picture files recorded by digital cameras. The association was founded on 28 January 2000 by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. , SanDisk Corporation and Toshiba Corporation.Board members of the association are ATP Electronics Inc., Canon Inc., Cardwave Services Limited, Giesecke & Devrient, Hewlett Packard, Kingston Technology, Lexar, Motorola Mobility, Panasonic, Phison, Samsung Electronics, SanDisk Corporation, Silicon Motion, Inc. and Toshiba. Wikipedia.
News Article | February 25, 2014
MicroSD cards are a popular form of external storage for some Windows and Android phones and tablets, but there are limits to how much you can keep on an 11-by-15mm card. Up until now, you could only add an extra 64GB of storage via microSD, but SanDisk is changing all that with the 128GB SDXC card that it announced Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. To boost capacity, SanDisk said in a statement that it had "developed an innovative proprietary technique that allows for 16 memory die to be vertically stacked," and each memory die is "shaved to be thinner than a strand of hair." The new card will be available exclusively through Amazon.com and BestBuy.com initially, and as a Class 10 SD card it offers minimum read and write speeds of 10 megabytes per second. This should be sufficient for recording 1080p video, according to the SD Association's speed ratings. Getting this kind of storage capacity in this kind of package won't come cheap, though. Sandisk's MSRP for the new microSD card is $199.99, about $1.56 per gigabyte: that's well over what you'd pay for a modern SSD or a standard-size 128GB SD card, the latter of which you can get on Amazon for about $80 as of this writing. As time goes on and prices come down, the ability to fit so much extra storage in a space-constrained phone or tablet will be handy for the digital hoarders among you. One of the first devices to explicitly support the new card is Samsung's Galaxy S5, which was announced earlier today.
News Article | November 9, 2013
The SD Association has announced the creation of a new SD card, the Ultra High Speed (UHS) Class 3 (U3), which is now going to be fast enough to support 4K Ultra HD video footage, according to an official release. The new cards have been designed to support a wide array of 4K television and video products that are currently available in the market. The SD card in question will be fast enough to support a 30MB/s constant minimum write speed that will allow 4K content to be recorded on high-performance cameras. Explaining this, the release said, “A new Ultra High Speed (UHS) Speed Class 3 (U3) symbol will indicate products capable of recording 4K2K video and will operate exclusively on SDXC UHS-I and UHS-II memory cards and devices and SDHC UHS-I and UHS-II memory cards and devices.” A SD card for your 4K video footage needs All new devices that can support the new UHS Speed Class 3 will also be backwards compatible and will work with existing SD memory cards. This should be good news, as 4K video capture, for the most part, has been limited to pro-level hardware. The date of release for the new SD card format has still not been announced, though. Acer, with the recently announced Liquid S2, is one of the few companies currently providing a mobile device with 4K video recording capabilities. Samsung also recently announced that it would start rolling out 4K-display bearing smartphones by 2015. Thus, while it may take some time for users to their hands on U3-capable devices, the interest in the field is definitely increasing.
News Article | November 13, 2012
A wireless high-capacity SD card announced by Toshiba in March finally made it to retail shelves Tuesday. The $80 FlashAir card allows data stored on the device to be transferred using standard WLAN communications. There is no installing of drivers or software and the built-in wireless LAN access point in the card does not require that it be connected to the Internet. Several devices can access the card at the same time, Toshiba explained in a statement. So, for example, you could show your friends photos on your smartphone while at the same time downloading them to a PC. The card, which has an 8GB capacity, is optimized for power efficiency and switches on only when necessary. In addition to announcing the availability of FlashAir, Toshiba announced a partnership with Olympus. The camera company will offer the FlashAir card free with a mail-in rebate when specific Olympus camera models are purchased. FlashAir cards have been selling in Japan since the beginning of the year and were expected to be introduced into the United States last June but release was delayed by a standards wrangle. A standard proposed by the SD Association was questioned by another maker of Wi-Fi cards, Eye-Fi. Eye-Fi challenged the standard because it maintained that the spec was very similar to the proprietary technology in its cards. That was a disturbing development for Eye-Fi, which has pretty much had the wireless SD market all to itself for the last seven years. In addition to Toshiba and Eye-Fi, Trek also makes a Wi-Fi SD card that sells for $80 called the FluCard Pro.
News Article | March 24, 2015
The Raspberry Pi 2 is great. It offers up to six times the power of the first-gen model, yet doesn't cost any more or take up extra space. Step back a minute and you realise it's only about as powerful as a budget phone like the Motorola Moto G. But that's plenty to give you enough scope to do some amazing things. Our favourite? The Raspberry Pi 2 makes a fantastic retro gaming console thanks to the efforts of the bustling indie dev scene that surrounds the computer and its predecessors. Read on to find out how to do this yourself. We're going to make this as simple as possible, so we'll be using a piece of software that boots straight into the emulator interface. This can be dumped right onto the Raspberry Pi 2's microSD memory card, meaning you don't need to do any fiddling about with Linux, Raspbian or anything else. It's all quite easy – and note that original Raspberry Pi owners can use this software too. The best emulator platform for Raspberry Pi at present is Emulation Station, ported over to Pi as part of the RetroPie project. Emulation Station is a front-end for a mass of go-retro game emulators – absolutely loads of the things. It's designed to be pretty and bold enough to work visually on your lounge TV, rather than just on a monitor where you'll be sitting close-up. It's just what we're after, in other words. You can download this software from either the RetroPie or Emulation Station websites. RetroPie offers SD card images for both Raspberry Pi generations 1 and 2. The two aren't 100% compatible with each other, much as the hardware is similar. Download the right version, then unzip it. At the time of writing RetroPie is distributed as an img.gz file, not a bog-standard zip file, but it's nothing 7-Zip will sweat over. That's a versatile compression program available for Windows and Mac OS X, if you don't have it already. Now we have our image, we need to prep our microSD card. This can be done within Windows easily enough, but for the sake of consistency, if you're not an SD card pro just download the SD Card Formatter tool from the SD Association website. It's available for Windows and Mac OS X. It has a pretty simple graphical front-end. After running it, just select 'Overwrite' in the format type and select a name for the card. 'RetroPie' will do the trick – or whatever you fancy. Next we need to write the image to the card. Using Windows? Just use the Win32 Disk Imager software available to download from Sourceforge. For Mac OS X there's a dedicated Raspberry Pi writer software that works very well, called RPi-sd card builder v1.2. Pi Filler is an alternative app. As these both have graphical interfaces you can't go too far wrong, as long as you keep track of where your RetroPie image is kept, i.e. where it went when you unzipped it. Just make sure that when you're finished writing to the card, you eject it rather than just yanking it out of your computer to avoid data corruption. Put the card in your Raspberry Pi, boot it up and you should see a rainbow screen followed by the Emulation Station boot screen. If you don't, something went wrong. To start with, though, the interface will seem very empty. As part of the Emulation Station's accessible UI style, gaming machines only show up if there are ROMs available for them. In the version we used it starts off with just ScummVM, Dosbox, and some ports of the shareware versions of Quake III and Duke Nukem 3D. We don't have our Raspberry Pi 2 retro dream machine just yet. Next you need to get hold of some gaming ROMs. One of the best retro gaming sites on the web, if not the best, is Emuparadise. Pro tip: don't be a pirate. Pirates are bad. Once you have the files, you can't simply drag and drop them over to the microSD memory card and expect them to work. That's not how the RetroPie file system functions. Instead, hook the Raspberry Pi up to your router using an Ethernet cable and it will show up in the home network section of Windows Explorer or Mac OS X's finder on your laptop or desktop. In its file system you'll see BIOS and ROMs folders. The latter is filled with sub-folders for every system supported by Emulation Station, into which you can drop the respective ROM files.
News Article | January 24, 2012
Eye-Fi, the company behind the wireless SD cards, which established the product in the marketplace, has criticised the SD Association, stating that several of its key patents will be infringed upon if users create their own wireless cards. Last week, the SD Association announced that it had devised a new Wireless LAN SD standard which meant that users could add wireless capabilities to SD cards. The company's chief executive, Yuval Koren, writing on the Eye-Fi blog, stated that the SD Association had deviated from its own rules by adopting Wireless LAN SD as a standard. This is because, the SD Association (which Eye-Fi is a member of), rules say that all member companies must be allotted a minimum of 60 days to present the intellectual property associated with a draft standard. According to Koren, the SD Association has been a bit hasty with its announcement as this period has not yet passed. Also on the blog, he said "We invested tens of millions of dollars and several years to create unique technology that lets people wirelessly transfer photos and videos directly from their camera and mobile devices." Koren claims that after the company made protests to the SDA, its executive director replied, "the SD Association has often made announcements during the IP Review Period because once this phase of the process has been achieved the only thing that could possibly change is the licensing and not the technical details." Eye-Fi says that 10 top camera manufacturers work with the company, along with "dozens" of leading photo-related sites to connect to the service. It claims that essential Eye-Fi patented technology would be violated by anyone implementing the draft specification. As of now, the Executive Members have still to vote on the adoption of the new standard, so it remains to be seen whether the objections from Eye-Fi will cause the Association to do a U-turn. Watch this space.