Flash Memory is quickly become the defacto standard for storing digital data. We will see a day when optical media and disc drives are long gone with only solid state flash memory serving up our digital dreams. Come splash in flash memory.
Visa started a four week trial period where mobile phones can not make touch-less payment transactions.Â This means you can now wave your phone in front of a terminal to make a purchase.
For purchases under $100 no PIN or signature is required and the customer has the option of receiving a receipt.
The technology is compatible with existing contact-less payment terminals already installed at more than 20,000 retail outlets across Australia, including fast food restaurants, electronic stores, book stores, sporting stadiums, clothing stores and vending machines.
Visa is calling this program the payWave technology and will pave the way for new banking methods using mobile devices.Â You can manage your account and make transfers, receive real time offers from merchants, fraud notices and you can even deactivate your card number through the mobile device.
This technology runs on an encrypted microSD card.Â Fifty participants from the Sydney and Melbourne offices of ANZ and Visa will been given a special protective iPhone case with a secure microSD memory card that allows them to turn their phone into a virtual wallet.
This solution seems ideal for a pilot program, but I’m sure the final product will incorporate a solution where an additional case is not required. For more information, check out the following Visa YouTube video.
USB 3.0 hard drives and flash drives will be gaining popularity in 2011.Â As with any commodity product, if you have a lot, you need something to manage them.Â The new Nexcopy USB Duplicator SSUSB160PC is designed for the job – can manage any number of bulk flash drive up-loads or off-loads.
The SSUSB160PC is the first SuperSpeed USB duplicator we’ve seen in the market.Â We read it can duplicate 32GBs of data in about 6 minutes…just imagine how much time that will save for the promotional guys or the corporate IT guys who need to deploy loads of data on USB.
Granted you’ll need to pony up for some expensive 3.0 drives, but if you’ve got the money for that, you’ve got the money for the $1,499 USB duplicator as well.
The USB copier by Nexcopy Inc. can also perform some other tasks, like unique data streaming to each port, or data collecting information OFF the flash drive.Â So whether it be duplication, copying or streaming, the Nexcopy unit appears to be the ticket.
Digital SLR cameras are eating up flash memory like there’s no tomorrow.Â With common DSLRs like the Nikon D90 from Costco you’ll find the average JPEG is 11MBs big.Â You switch to RAW format and that will triple.Â These examples are for a standard DSLR camera, now consider the high resolution of a professional series like the D5000 or D3X.
This is why photographers will be rejoiced to hear Lexar’s new line of SD media is topping the range of 64GB and 128GB.Â Granted the price isn’t cheap, but if you truly care about these higher capacities and can see how it will benefit YOU, then you’re probably a photographer who doesn’t care as much about price as you do about functionality and performance.
The 64GB and 128GB SDXC cards guarantee a transfer rate of 133x or about 20MB+ per second.
The Lexar branded SD media isn’t available until Feb or Mar so it’ll give you enough time to save up the money for (more…)
If forecasting is to be believed, we are looking at 1.7 billion [with a B] USB 3.0 devices to be shipped during 2011. With the world population at just 6.8 billion, this means that nearly 1 in 5 will have a USB 3.0 product. Hmm does that number sound right?
In-Stat seems to think they’ve got their numbers right, but I challange them.
With USB 3.0 being a slow start given that Intel wont even include the drivers in their chipset, it’s hare to believe OEMs will generate that much demand. Traditionally, OEMs lean on Intel to provide built in drivers to reduce overall cost of integration of new devices. Without the native driver, this forces integrators to go out and find solutions, like the NEC 3.0 chip.
Here is a quick snap shot at some numbers for USB 3.0 and it’s related family of products:
USB 3.0 spec up to 5 GHz data transfer rate – about 500MB/s
Microsoft has not provided a native set of drivers for Windows as of yet
NEC shipped 3 million controllers in 2010 and expected to ship 20 million for 2011
USB-IF has tested nearly 120 USB 3.0 devices as of Dec 2010
Intel will finally provide support for USB 3.0 in it’s Sandy Bridge chipset sometime in 2011
Even in 2014 USB 2.0 will carry the bulk of sales for USB devices
By 2014 In-Stat is forecasting USB 3.0 to be in 225 million USB flash drives, seven million set-top boxes and nearly 40% of all digital media players.
Trek 2000 Ltd introduces a wifi SD card where by the user could transfer files from a device, like a camera, to a computer without the need for cables or internet access.
We’ve seen this card before called the Eye-Fi card so we’ve been here before. What I like to see is the concept adopting on and more vendors are making such a device.
Trek 2000 has a bit of unique name for their SD wifi card; the “FluCard.” The FluCard was aptly named because Trek 2000 is hoping the product name will be contagious and easily remember by users. Of course, this naming idea is like “Kleenex” or “Google” where it just becomes a house-hold name. Trek has done this before, apparently the owner of Trek 20 coined the phrase “Thumb Drive” and we all know what that is!
The FluCard is a wifi device and does not need internet access to work. You could be in the middle of the Sudan and transfer files from your digital camera to your phone or computer. The wifi is license free.
The FluCard is comprised of a NAND flash chip for memory and an IC controller which has built in wifi capability.
Today Toshiba announced a power outage at their plant in Yokkaichi.Â Toshiba claims the power will be restored by Friday Dec 12th 2010.Â There where no details about the outage, but it could have an effect on flash memory in Jan/Feb of 2011.
Toshiba estimates that up to 20% of their production schedule will be effected by the power problem.
Seems a little suspicious as prices for flash continue to decline, but that’s just my conspericy theory coming out.
Apple could be the biggest customer effected by the problem as they use Toshiba for most of their MacBook Air SSD component.Â However, Electronista reports that Apple has other suppliers such as Samsung, Hynix and even Intel.
From what we know, Apple has a dual source policy program for events just like this.
NAND memory and flash drives are usually hot in Oct through Dec, but this year it might be different.Â It seems the price of flash is dropping according to Digitimes.Â Apparently, growth of NAND Flash has been limited this year, especially amid lessened flash memory card and USB drive shipments.
This led to a veritable price ‘free fall’ during the second half of the ongoing year 2010, to the point where module makers are doing everything they can to not increase their inventories further.
For those interested in numbers, 8 Gb MLC (multi-level cell) NAND Flash memory chips got 10-14% cheaper during early November.
Likewise, the prices of 16 Gb and 64 Gb MLC products dropped more than 7% during the same period.
The chip makers are thinking the drastic dip in price will stimulate demand.Â What we are not taking into account is the up and coming TLC flash which is now getting more advanced controller support making the TLC technology more stable and cheaper to manufacturer. (more…)
If you haven’t noticed the shift yet, there is no doubt you’ll see it in 2011.Â We are talking about the shift from disk drive storage to solid state storage.Â Sure we’ve heard netbooks run off flash and some other high end laptops, but not until Steve Jobs announced their new MacBook will be all flash did we notice the tide beginning to change.
I’m not glorify Steve Jobs as the man who saw this coming, no, but understanding that Apple is the largest consumer of flash memory in the world – puts a different perspective on things.
Apple will single hand drive the consumer PC market away from disk drives to flash chips as their hard drives.Â Apple will do this in two steps.Â Step 1:Â Pass along their great discounts they undoubtedly get as being the largest consumer and Step 2:Â Decreasing boot time when the MacBooks are powered on.
We all curse at our PC during boot up because it just doesn’t happen fast enough.Â Folks who have iPads have already had the “crack” and are addicted.Â This will spread with the advent of flash in the MacBooks.Â This will undoubtedly challenge Windows competitors to equal the performance levels.
The Wall Street Journal did a more pragmatic approach to the subject if you’re looking for numbers and details.Â Check here.
CFast is a variant of Compact Flash.Â A traditional Compact Flash card is based off ATA or IDE bus for data transfer.Â Since most CF cards are used for embedded applications, the forum was looking to increase speed.Â They did this by creating CFast which is a technology based of Serial ATA bus.
This means the connector is completely different for Compact Flash cards and CFast cards.Â So if you are thinking about increasing your performance of a CF card while using your traditional CF card Reader, you’ll be S.O.L.Â The CFast uses a different connection type.Â In addition, if you are using the CF cards for camera’s, you’ll have to get a new camera…one that supports CFast connection.Â CFast cards use a 7-pin SATA data connector (identical to the standard SATA connector).
The data transfer rate of CFast is about 3 times faster than Compact Flash.Â So we’ve jumped from 100MB/s to about 300MB/s.
So here is a bit of information one could use for a cocktail conversation starter at your next computer club meeting, the start of flash memory.
The first piece of flash memory was invented way back in 1984.Â Flash was invented by Toshiba and by a guy named Dr. Fujio Masuoka.Â According to Toshiba records, the term “flash” was suggested by Dr. Masuoka’s colleague, Mr. Shoji Ariizumi because the erase process of the memory contents reminded him of a flash like in a camera.
Toshiba presented the new invention at the IEEE 1984 Integrated Electronics Devices Meeting in San Jose California and Intel saw the immediate value and jumped on board.Â By 1988 the first commercial NOR type flash chip was commercially available.
NOR based flash has long erase and write times and has a full address/ data interface.Â Meaning one can read or write data to any portion of the NOR chip.Â The NOR technology is mostly used for low levels of read/write cycles.Â So for example, NOR is great for BIOS and firmware of a device.Â NOR was the first version of flash, but everyone quickly realized a cheaper, faster solution is also needed.
In 1989 the first NAND flash chip was introduced.Â It had faster erase and write times, higher density, and lower cost than NOR flash – with ten times the endurance. The draw back with NAND [if you can call it that] is the I/O interface only allowing sequential access to data. Meaning you can only write to the device after the last bit of data has been written.Â This makes it suitable for mass-storage devices such as PC cards and various memory cards like USB, SD and microSD, and somewhat less useful for computer memory.