Most of us now have multiple devices with memory cards in - mobile phone, digital camera, a PDA perhaps - and while there were signs of a standard emerging in the past, mobile phone memory cards in particular have continued to shrink.

That's not so good if you need to get files such as photos out of one device and onto another - your PC, say. A few laptops now have built-in SDIO slots, but for most of us, it means remembering to carry a card-reader when travelling.

So meeting Kingston Technology at an event alongside Mobile World Congress last month was interesting, because as well as its main business of selling memory, the company is also developing its sideline of memory adapters.

Not surprisingly, given the venue, those on show were mostly aimed at mobile phones and other portable devices, and here's a couple of the more recent additions to the range.

The first package couples a 1GB microSD card with readers for SD, miniSD and USB. It means you could potentially use the same card in a camera, phone and PC. Usefully, the tiny USB reader comes with a protective sleeve and a string - either for a keyring, or perhaps for use as a phone charm.

The one thing missing is an adapter for the MMC-Mobile cards used in some earlier phones such as the Nokia N70. That's a thin and short format though, so it would be tough to build an adapter, and it's less widely used now anyhow.

The second package is the new DataTraveler Micro Reader, and is perhaps the more interesting of the two - especially if, like me, you tend also to carry a USB stick when travelling, for use as a 'fat floppy'.

This is a normal sized 1GB USB 2.0 stick which in addition has a memory card reader built-in. The card reader hides under a flip-top lid and as well as microSD and microSDHC, it can take the Memory Stick Micro (M2) cards used by newer Sony Ericsson phones.

Plugging the USB stick in with a microSD card aboard means the PC sees two extra drives, just as you would expect.

This is going to be a useful addition to my travelling kitbag - although 1GB is starting to look a little on the small side, now that press-kits are starting to come on DVD instead of CD-ROM. Kingston says there will also be 2GB and 4GB models.

Of course, none of this solves the frustration of realising that the 4GB card you bought last month doesn't fit the new phone you just acquired - especially if it's because the card is physically too big, so you can't even use an adapter.

Still, memory is cheap, and you can always sell the big card with the old phone. Do remember to wipe your data off it first though, otherwise you never know who might be viewing - and passing around - those candid photos of yours....


If you ever need to get large files on or off your mobile phone, or have memory cards that you could re-use in your digital camera, card adapters are an obvious way to do it.