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Hot off the Press "Release"
7/30/02 Keith Benicek, Editor

xD-Picture, another new Digital Camera Flash Card?

Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd, and Olympus of Japan announced today the joint development of the xD-Picture ("eXtreme digital") Card. This new card type of memory media is an eXtremely (pun intended) compact design is about the size of a postage stamp and will have an image storage capacity of up to 8GB. The card offers compatibility with different digital camera brands and prices that will be comparable to current SmartMedia cards as Fuji and Olympus claim.

This new flash form factor has a volume of 0.85cc and a weight of 2g, the xD-Picture Card will be the smallest of any digital memory card, according to John Knaur, the Olympus' product manager for Digital Consumer Products Group. "Plus, its small size will enable development of even smaller digital camera", he said in our interview.

Toshiba Corp. in Japan will produce the
xD-Picture Card on consignment and Olympus reports that it will be introduced in

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the Americas this fall along with new digital cameras from Olympus and Fujifilm that support the media. With a Compact Flash adapter they will be producing, the xD-Picture Card can be used with any Compact Flash compatible device. There will also be a USB Reader/Writer that provides computer connectivity, as does a PCMCIA PC Card adapter for laptops.

Initially four types of cards will be available : 16MB, 32MB, 64MB, and 128MB. Due in December are 256MB cards, with 512MB, 1GB and 8GB versions planned for 2003.

The question is, will there be room for another proprietary "Digital Film" Flash card type? With Compact Flash (most established), Smart Media, MultiMedia and Memory Stick (only used on Sonys and a very few other cameras), what is the chance it will be accepted? Smart Media has gained on Compact Flash and Sony's brut marketing strength has kept Memory Stick on store shelves even though no other major camera maker has employed it.

Time will tell.




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