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microSD Card Integrated with NFC Technology From Netcom

Netcom is a Chinese company which is trying to carve out a niche market for themself by developing a NFC [Near Field Communication] chipset inside a microSD card. The technology gives the microSD card the ability to communicate via NFC as well as provide memory storage for the user.  The NFC chip sits inside the microSD slot of the host. The idea is bringing NFC technology for payment terminals to older phones which don’t have the NFC chipset or technology currently in them. The Netcom solution does require a bit of attention to make it all work.  First, the microSD slot of the host must be made of plastic.  Most are, but it’s worth noting to look before you buy. Next, the NFC chipset does require a small app loaded on the host so that communication can take place between the NFC chip itself and the host it’s sitting in.  Which makes sense, as typically that app is embedded on the phone RAM when spec’d out during production for a “certified NFC” device. Last, is the antenna coil required to sit inside the microSD card might be a bit small/short for communication of a distance more than 20mm from the terminal receiver.  Again, not a big deal as we are talking about NEAR field communication, but worth noting before buying. Source [image as well] Engadget.com. Continue Reading

Enable microSD Slot in XOOM by Motorola

It’s been said Motorola rushed their shipments of XOOM tablet products to make an early claim in the market for iPad like solutions.  The problem is that some of the OS features and hardware accessories don’t work.  For example, the XOOM from Motorola has a microSD slot for increased capacity, but the damn slot doesn’t work. Motorol assured users the slot will be enabled not to long, but for many – they want access now.  With tablet sizes between 16GB and 32GB I can see the immediate need for increased storage space.  Granted, the space would be required more by a user looking to store large movie video files and not the typical user of tablet games, email clients and browsers, but never the less, it’s important for users to have the option.  The option for more storage. Tiamat came up with a solution.  They have released an updated Linux kernel which enables the microSD slot.  I’m not sure what other snibits of code are included with the kernel [caution] but if you desperately need the Continue Reading

Four Port 3.0 Host Controller From Renesas

Renesas is the spin off company from NEC who’s already making waves with their newest announcement of a USB 3.0 host controller which supports four downstream ports. This means the chip will provide more USB 3.0 ports to a motherboard, PCI card or embedded system applications.  In addition the new controller reduces it’s power consumption and increases performance. Renesas claims a 40% increase with this new controller, and I hate to say it, but that is a big jump from previous controllers – so I’m not totally convinced.  So it’ll need to be one of those “guilty until proven innocent” situations. Continue Reading

Encrypted microSD Card Enables Visa To Have Mobile CC Payments

Visa started a four week trial period where mobile phones can not make touch-less payment transactions.  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.  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.  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.
 
 
Continue Reading

SuperSpeed USB Duplicator Introduced by Nexcopy

USB 3.0 hard drives and flash drives will be gaining popularity in 2011.  As with any commodity product, if you have a lot, you need something to manage them.  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.  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.  So whether it be duplication, copying or streaming, the Nexcopy unit appears to be the ticket. Continue Reading

64GB and 128GB Lexar SDXC Cards

Digital SLR cameras are eating up flash memory like there’s no tomorrow.  With common DSLRs like the Nikon D90 from Costco you’ll find the average JPEG is 11MBs big.  You switch to RAW format and that will triple.  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.  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 Continue Reading

For Real? 1.7 Billion USB 3.0 Devices Slated for 2011

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.

USB 3.0 cable

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.
Source: EETimes https://tinyurl.com/2eldj2x Continue Reading

WiFi SD Card – Free Your Camera From Tethered Downloading

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.

SD wifi card

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.

To learn more, visit Trek 2000.

Continue Reading

Power Outage At Toshiba Could Spell Flash Shortage

lightening buildingToday Toshiba announced a power outage at their plant in Yokkaichi.  Toshiba claims the power will be restored by Friday Dec 12th 2010.  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.  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. Source:  Electronista. Continue Reading

NAND Getting Cheaper At Year End

NAND memory and flash drives are usually hot in Oct through Dec, but this year it might be different.  It seems the price of flash is dropping according to Digitimes.  Apparently, growth of NAND Flash has been limited this year, especially amid lessened flash memory card and USB drive shipments.

NAND Samsung memory

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.  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. Continue Reading

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