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SmartMedia to hit MP3 market

SmartMedia to hit MP3 market

Users of portable electronic devices such as digital still cameras and MP3 players will soon be able to store and carry more information with them as the next generation of SmartMedia cards hits the market.

Samsung Electronics said last week it plans to shortly begin manufacturing a SmartMedia memory card capable of storing up to 128MB of data. Japan's Toshiba Corp also announced similar plans last week.

The cards will make it possible to store up to 32 songs in CD quality on a single card, while users of digital still cameras will be able to take 560 high-resolution (1200 x 1024 pixels) images before getting a "card full" message.

Inside, the two cards are slightly different. Samsung's version features four 256Mb memory chips laid alongside each other, whereas Toshiba's planned card will contain two of the company's newly-developed 512Mb memory chips. The latter are more advanced, using a 0.16 micron production process against Samsung's 0.18 micron process. However, the end result is the same: 128MB of storage space on a card the size of a postage stamp.

Toshiba expects to begin mass production of its cards in December and Samsung said it will begin in early 2001. The South Korean company would not divulge pricing for either the sample or production versions of the card. Toshiba said it expects to sell samples at 30,000 yen ($506).

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