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SanDisk and Sony announce SxS memory card specification

SanDisk and Sony announce their plans to develop the SxS (S-by-S) memory card specification, with high-speed transfer technology compliant to the ExpressCard industry standard. The SxS card measures 75x34x5mm, and has a maximum data transfer speed of 2.5 gigabits per sec. Sony will use the SxS memory card in its XDCAM EX camcorder. The new camcorder is based on MPEG-2 compression technology with three 0.5-inch imagers, and will feature two card slots to record approximately 120 minutes of content on two 16 GB cards...

PRESS SUMMARY

SanDisk and Sony announce SxS memory card specification - digital camera and photography newsSxS™ offers high capacity and high-speed data transfer

SanDisk Corporation and Sony Corporation today announced that the two companies have agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU ) with the intention of developing the SxS™ (S-by-S) memory card specification, with high-speed transfer technology compliant to the ExpressCard™ industry standard.

SxS memory cards will leverage the technology strength of SanDisk and Sony, who have a long and successful history of co-developing and promoting flash memory products. With this high-performance and high-reliability memory card, both companies are targeting workflow improvements for professional camcorders and non-linear video editing systems.

The SxS memory card specification uses flash memory and complies with the ExpressCard industry standard, and the card connects directly to computer systems through the high-speed PCI-Express bus. ExpressCard has been rapidly adopted by PC manufacturers to replace the legacy PC Card form factor, giving the SxS™ memory cards broad support in post-production hardware.

Sony will adopt this high-speed SxS memory card specification in its “XDCAM EX“ series professional camcorders. SxS™ memory cards from SanDisk and Sony are expected to be available later in 2007.


Prototype SxS Memory Card

Benefits

• High-speed data transfer of large video files. SxS memory cards are the first native PCI Express solid-state storage media1. PCI Express has a maximum data transfer speed of 2.5 gigabits per second, twice as fast as PC Card-based storage media. In addition, SanDisk and Sony have optimized the technology protocol for controlling communication between hardware and SxS memory cards to enable high-speed transfer of large files, such as high-definition video, to PCs for non-linear video-editing. The target transfer speed of SxS memory cards is 800 megabits per second2.

• Compact Size. The SxS memory card specification uses ExpressCard/34 modules (width: 34mm, height: 5mm, length: 75mm), half the size of PC Cards. This enables the design of professional camcorders that are smaller and lighter, while still offering high storage capacities.

“Sony and SanDisk share the goal of providing leadership in high-performance, high-capacity recording solutions for professional video,” said Eli Harari, Chairman and CEO of SanDisk. “I am proud of the close cooperation we have had with Sony over the years, and I look forward to the exciting new products that SxS™ memory cards will enable.”

Yutaka Nakagawa, Executive Deputy President and Corporate Executive Officer of Sony Corporation, said: “Sony has successfully collaborated with SanDisk Corporation in promoting the Memory Stick formats. Significant milestones have been the Memory Stick PRO format in 2003, the Memory Stick Micro in 2005 and Memory Stick PRO-HG in 2006. I am delighted by today's joint announcement of this new technology, which expands our collaboration to a new area, the professional video market, offering great benefits to users in this field. With the introduction of this SxS™ memory card, we will seek to expand its use throughout professional video applications to enable highly efficient workflow systems.”


Adding Flash Memory Capabilities to the XDCAM Family

The planned XDCAM EX unit will expand upon Sony's XDCAM line of tapeless acquisition technologies, using flash memory technology: the SxS memory card specification, with high-speed transfer technology compliant to the ExpressCard industry standard.

“Sony will be able to adopt an appropriate technology for each application according to the needs of our customers,” Ott said.

According to Ott, ExpressCard's higher speed and smaller form factor will make Sony's evolution to flash media a natural progression and open the door to a broader range of applications for tapeless production.

“The XDCAM EX camcorder will make the most sense in small production systems, where the shooter and editor is often the same person,” Ott said. “In this type of production environment, you can easily control the flash media as it cycles between shooting and feeding the NLE.”

The planned camcorder is based on MPEG-2 compression technology with three, ½-inch imagers. It will be switchable between 1080/60i and 720/60P, and be capable of recording 1080/50i/30P/25P/24P and 720/50P. The camera will also have slow and quick motion functionality.

The camera will feature two card slots, and users will be able to record approximately 120 minutes of content on two16 GB card. Sony is planning to introduce both 8GB and 16GB flash memory media initially.

“Our XDCAM series of products will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the industry and continue to offer flexible, more capable and more affordable production systems,” Ott said.
April 16, 2007
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