SanDisk Readies Products For UK Market and Hypes Up TransFlash

SanDisk was in buoyant mood as it staged a press conference in London today announcing UK availability of new products and a big future for TransFlash memory.

Flash memory heavyweight SanDisk has firmed up UK release dates for two of its more interesting products announced at CES in January and announced major manufacturer backing for its tiny TransFlash cards.

Hosting an event at the plush One Aldwych Hotel in Covent Garden, SanDisk European Sales Managing Director Ed Moro was in bullish mood as he discussed the March release of the company’s first dedicated MP3 player market, the palm sized Sansa e100 series.

Ironically, the player works in the opposite way to the MP3 Companion for its Cruzer Micro memory keys which we reviewed back in September. For while the MP3 Companion is essentially an add-on for a memory key, the Sansa e100 series is an MP3 player where SD cards can be plugged into it. Consequently, the only limits to capacity are the available sizes of SD cards. With this in mind Moro announced new 2GB SD cards.

Battery life is expected to last 15 hours from a single AAA battery. Music format support remains a little unclear with only MP3 and WMA mentioned outright, though the company was at pains to point out that a wide range of formats would be supported. The e100 series will hit selves in March with retail prices starting from 149 Euros.

Second up was news that SanDisk’s Dual Functionality Card covered last week will hit UK shelves in by the end of March.

The card, which functions like a normal SD card but also opens to reveal a USB connector, was described by Moro as a “TransFlash by-product”. What this means is the Dual Functionality Card is essentially a hybrid product using the smaller, fingernail size technology of TransFlash to create enough empty space within the SD card to fit a USB connector. Dual Functionality Cards will initially ship with capacities of up to 1GB.

Finally, Moro finished by announcing a host of new manufacturers support for its TransFlash media. Seen largely as a storage technology to be used in mobile phones, SanDisk said Amoi Electronics, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, NEC, Samsung and SK Teletech had agreed to make phones designed around TransFlash with 14 handsets currently ready to ship.

TrustedReviews readers will notice that big guns Nokia and Sony Ericsson are unsurprisingly absent from this list, which could hinder take up of the format, but speaking to me on the back of record fourth quarter revenues, Moro confidently predicted one third of all new mobiles would support TransFlash by the middle of next year.


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