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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.

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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

The Flash Tide Is Rising

If you haven’t noticed the shift yet, there is no doubt you’ll see it in 2011.  We are talking about the shift from disk drive storage to solid state storage.  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.

MacBook Air Flash Drive

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.  Apple will do this in two steps.  Step 1:  Pass along their great discounts they undoubtedly get as being the largest consumer and Step 2:  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.  Folks who have iPads have already had the “crack” and are addicted.  This will spread with the advent of flash in the MacBooks.  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.  Check here. Continue Reading

What is CFast?

CFast is a variant of Compact Flash.  A traditional Compact Flash card is based off ATA or IDE bus for data transfer.  Since most CF cards are used for embedded applications, the forum was looking to increase speed.  They did this by creating CFast which is a technology based of Serial ATA bus.

What is CFast Card

This means the connector is completely different for Compact Flash cards and CFast cards.  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.  The CFast uses a different connection type.  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.  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.  So we’ve jumped from 100MB/s to about 300MB/s. Continue Reading

Flash Memery – Where Did It Start

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.  Flash was invented by Toshiba and by a guy named Dr. Fujio Masuoka.  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.  By 1988 the first commercial NOR type flash chip was commercially available.

NAND flash Toshiba

NOR based flash has long erase and write times and has a full address/ data interface.  Meaning one can read or write data to any portion of the NOR chip.  The NOR technology is mostly used for low levels of read/write cycles.  So for example, NOR is great for BIOS and firmware of a device.  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.  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.  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. Source:  TutorialsWeb. Continue Reading

3 Bit Per Cell NAND Flash

3 bit per cell3 bit-per-cell NAND is sampled out the manufacturers.  The 3 bit per cell is exactly that, 3 bits of information are stored in each NAND cell.  This increased the capacity while keeping the foot print the same size.  This ultimately leads to larger storage capacity at a cheaper price.  Traditionally, SLC [Single Layer Cell] and MLC [Multi Layer Cell] technology is used is USB and SD flash, but we will begin to see TLC [Triple Layer Cell or 3 bit per cell] technology have a full roll-out by the end of this year. Over the past 18 months the biggest problem with TLC is the stability of the memory and performance, but Intel and Micron feel they overcame those problems and ready for production.  More with their press release: Continue Reading

SanDisk Stock Possibly Under Valued

From a recent report published by Trefis, it appears that SanDisk stock price might be a good buy right now.  Now this article isn’t as much about buying the stock as it is about seeing the market share of SanDisk.

SanDisk market share

First, to be accurate for the article here is a quote from the full report:
“We currently have a Trefis price estimate of around $50 for SanDisk’s stock, about 11% above the current market price of around $45.”
Trefis goes on to report the market share SanDisk has for the flash memory market and in the retail space.  It seems clear with the ever growing popularity of the Smartphones, the number one category SanDisk owns, will continue to grow.  To me, it also indicates the relationship SanDisk has with retail segments is largely with the cell phone companies such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and others and this is a big driving force in that number one position. Source:  Trefis. Continue Reading

SD Generate about 50% Of NAND Consumption

NAND memory grew at a fast pace until 2006, then the core memory market got mature and slowed down.  The NAND segment makes up most the market with SD formats consuming about 50% of the market share, with MP3, USB and CF media making the balance.

SD memory, bulk, group, pile

In 2007, supply overtook demand and this trend continues in 2008 and in also 2009 this trend is expected to continue owing to high bit growth in supply. The impact of financial crises is still diffusing, and the consumer confidence is relatively low with the global recession. In United States NAND flash shipments have declined due to changing technologies and adverse market conditions. Flash memory prices are increasing which is affecting demand and supply. SSD is one of the applications of flash memory which is gaining market demand and is expected to perform as a key growth driver in near future. Portable applications such as UFD, MP3, DSC and DV Cam are major product categories leading to rise in demand of flash memory worldwide. To learn more about the NAND flash memory market please visit AARKStore for more details.  Cost is $850. Continue Reading

Where Are 80 Million USB Modems Going?

Into your home, work place, car and everywhere else, that’s where.  ABI Research company has forecasted over 81 million USB wireless modems will be sold in 2010.  Currently over 50% of those sales figures are from cellular companies pushing their services for hotspots and instant wifi connection when out-n-about.

USB modem on PC

The biggest reason for the USB modem is lack of required drivers, as it’s either preinstalled on the device or installs directly from the device.  In addition, the USB modem is portable and easily swapped between work and home locations. ABI asks whether embedded modem modules in new computers or the recent interest in personal hotspot routers (a la MiFi) can overtake the popularity of USB dongles. Research associate Khin Sandi Lynn points out that, “In the long run, more devices are looking for a network to connect to. The wireless modem market can solve this in many ways – different form-factors, air interface protocols, and increased attention to style and cultural interests.” ABI webpage. Continue Reading

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