Motorola has created a new, smaller removable flash memory card for mobiles to tie-in with its 3G phones' launch in the summer.
Created with SanDisk, the cards will vary from an existing 32MB to an eventual 512MB, and be used in Motorola's two 3G phones, the E1000 and A1000, also announced at the 3GSM conference in Cannes this week.
The E1000, using Motorola's own Synergy operating system, will go on sale in the third quarter, and the A1000, running Symbian, in the fourth quarter the A1000. Two other new phones announced - the MPx and MPx-100 - will not use the new cards but all subsequent phones will, the company said.
At around 12mm by 10mm, the new cards are half the size of the current champion, the miniSD card. Memory cards have been getting smaller in size and larger in capacity over the years but further reduction is needed as the increased screen sizes, bigger batteries and add-ons such as cameras take up more room on a phone.
In the latest phones, the memory card is stored behind the battery, next to the SIM and half its size. In this position, the cards are removable, but Kelly Radmer, 3G marketing manager at Motorola, told us she expects the (relatively affluent) purchasers of these high-end phones to buy the largest capacity card they can afford along with their phone, and stick with it.
As more 3G phones are added to fill out the bottom of the range, we can expect to see slots for the new memory cards on the outside of the phones to accommodate cheaper models, she said. The memory card specification will be made available to other manufacturers.
Pricing for the cards has yet to be decided, and no final decision has been taken on a name. No details of the performance of the cards were available, however they could be compatible with either SD or MMC cards, some memory card experts suggested.