SanDisk Introduces TrustedFlash

DRM protected pre-loaded media content on microSD cards. A clever evolution of the CD/DVD or an unnecessary step back into the past?

We always suspected our site name was a good ‘un and clearly SanDisk agrees given that its latest evolution of the MicroSD format is called “TrustedFlash”. It’s not about public displays of nudity though (however pleasant, or disturbing that may be), it’s about something far more scary: DRM.

In a sentence, this is essentially what TrustedFlash is: ”CD and DVD protected content on a MicroSD card.” The idea is that music labels and movie studios can sell these things (complete with pretty labels) much in the same way they do with optical media today. Given that microSD is infinitely smaller, however, this content can played on laptops, PDAs and phones.


Now my take on TrustedFlash is that it is both groovy and a little antiquated at the same time. The good part is obvious: increased content for multiple types of device. The bad is it suggests we’ll end up in a CD/Minidisc era again with tons of little microSD cards in our pockets which we’ll rifle through looking for the right album. Is this really the way forward or is it just the past, shrunk?

The other issue is Digital Rights Management. With the pre-purchased content “locked” onto the card, do we really want it inserted into our device at the expense of the mass storage card we already have in there which tends to hold pertinent content to our everyday use? So it’s a conundrum.

It looks like the idea is here to stay, however, as TrustedFlash will be expanded beyond multimedia into mobile commerce applications (enabling online financial transactions, credit card payments, mass-transit access and one time password authentication) in 2006.

The first TrustedFlash products will be available (under the brand “gruvi” cards) soon and storage capacities will be up to 2GB. Pricing will obviously depend on the type and amount of content preloaded. Horses for courses, people.


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