Hitachi, Ingentix, Matsushita Electric Industrial, SanDisk and Toshiba have created a new standard for flash memory cards.
Dubbed the ‘MC Extension Standard’ it will enable such cards to support a range of new security functions, enabling them to be used in new applications such as secure data transfer, content purchase and electronic payment.
Officials of the five companies, known as the 5C, believe that implementation of the MC Extension Standard would also enable flash memory cards to be usedfor stock trading, storage of personal medical records, and the purchase of music and video.
The new set of security features can be used with existing popular flash memory cards as CompactFlash, SD, Memory Card, and MultiMediaCard.
The vendors plan to promote and license the standard in the open market so that card standard organisations, card manufacturers and device vendors can use it. Complete standard specifications and licensing documents are expected to be available by October, 2002.
The new security features could expand the existing memory card market which last year saw worldwide sales of some 45 million flash memory cards, according to market researchers at International Data Corporation.
Flash memory cards are mainly used today to capture and store digital photos, digital video, data and audio. IDC forecasts that the worldwide flash card market, which totaled about $920 million in 2001, will grow to $2.6 billion in 2006.