Original Source Press Release:
Olympus announces xD-Picture Card (UPDATED)|
(Tuesday, July 30, 2002 - 05:42 EDT)
Somewhat earlier than we'd expected, the Japanese manufacturer joins Fuji in announcing the latest flash memory format to hit the market...
We just posted news of the official announcement by Fuji of the xD-Picture Card format which has been much-rumored for the last couple of weeks, and had deliberately held back any information related to Fuji's partner, Olympus America Inc. as we'd been told to expect an announcement at 9am Eastern time today - however we see the news has already been posted on other sites, so are now going ahead ourselves.
There's not a lot of extra information to share, since the xD-Picture Cards sold by Olympus will essentially be identical to those from Fuji. Nobody has announced pricing for the cards yet, and Olympus is predicting the same timeline as Fuji - cards up to 128MB at launch, up to 256MB "later this year" and 512MB to 1GB cards available next year. (Our gut feeling from the press conference was that the 1GB cards would likely be available later in the year, based on the way people were talking).
Note that Olympus will be retaining one SmartMedia tradition to ensure that users purchase Olympus-branded xD-Picture Cards for their xD-based camera. As with SmartMedia cameras from the company, if you want to enable the panorama function of your Olympus digital camera you must use an Olympus-branded flash card...
Having seen the cards in person, we have to say they are really, *really* small - to the point that when sold, they'll come packaged in plastic holders that accept 6 cards in a larger piece of plastic, to help prevent their getting lost. You can't get much of an idea for the size from just reading numbers (although do take a look at our coverage of Fuji's announcement for direct comparisons with other common formats) - so we're happy to provide a few photos showing the xD cards alongside their existing competitors.
Courtesy of Olympus, we have their feelings as to the advantages of xD-Picture Cards:
A Revolutionary Ultra-Compact Digital Camera Memory Media is Born!
Responding to the needs of today's digital still camera enthusiasts for greater memory capacity and compatibility with other media, Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. and Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd (Fujifilm ) of Japan have jointly developed the xD-Picture Card™, a new type of memory media with an ultra-compact design about the size of a postage stamp, image storage capacity of up to 8 gigabytes, compatibility via adapters with different digital camera brands, and prices that are comparable to current SmartMedia™ cards.
Innovative & Intelligent
Easy to Use
- Incredible Data Capacity: With initial memory sizes of 12MB, 32MB, 64MB, and 128MB at introduction, and followed by 256 megabytes by the end of 2002 and larger sizes up to 8 gigabytes in the future, the new xD-Picture Card™meets and exceeds memory needs.
- Adaptable to Other Media: A small adapter will allow an xD-Picture Card™ to be used in cameras designed for CompactFlash™ media. The new Olympus cameras that support the xD-Picture Card™ will also accept SmartMedia™ cards with an exclusive 2 in 1 slot, allowing customers upgrading from older cameras to newer units the choice of using an xD-Picture Card or SmartMedia™. Plans to adapt the new media for PDAs, audio players and other IT appliances are also underway.
- Fast Connection to PCs: A PCMCIA PC Card adapter and USB reader/writers will be available simultaneously with the xD-Picture Card™, allowing for easy interfacing with personal computers such as laptops and other devices ensures the easy downloading of data.
- Powerful Performance in a Small Package: With its ultra-compact size (.79"X.98"X.67) and its low weight (2g), the xD-Picture Card boasts the smallest form factor of any digital memory card, making it exceptionally portable and convenient to use. The miniature size of the new Card will enable development of even smaller, more stylish and powerful digital devices in the future.
- Keeps Clean and Stays Strong: The xD-Picture Card™ contact area is larger than most other Flash media making it easier to make contact on the card for data transfer. Although similar in some ways to all flash media, the Cards are designed for increased durability and reliability despite their small size.
Where to buy the xD-Picture Card:
- Panorama Possibilities: When using the xD-Picture CardTM and Camedia Master 4.0x Software, you can stitch 10 shots together to reproduce incredible vistas.
or visit: www.olympusamerica.com
UPDATED 2002-09-02 16:33ET: Oympus have redistributed their press info after finding an error whereby the card dimensions were incorrectly stated as 0.79" x 0.98" x .067", rather than 0.97" x 0.98" x 0.67". This has now been corrected in our news item.
Olympus America Inc.
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|Olympus Announces Development of xD-Picture Card, A Revolutionary Ultra-Compact Digital Camera Memory Media|
World's Smallest Memory Cards Offer Storage Capacity Up To 8 Gigabytes, Lower Power Consumption, and Compatibility with Different Digital Camera Brands
July 30, 2002, Melville, NY -- Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. and Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. (Fujifilm) of Japan today announced they have jointly developed the xD-Picture Card, a new type of memory media with an ultra-compact design about the size of a postage stamp, image storage capacity of up to 8 gigabytes, compatibility with different digital camera brands, and prices that are comparable to current SmartMedia cards.
The name of the new xD-Picture Card was inspired by the words "eXtreme digital" to signify the excellence of this new memory media for recording, storing, and transporting audiovisual information. The xD-Picture Card will be produced on consignment by Toshiba Corporation in Japan and introduced in the Americas this fall along with digital cameras from Olympus and Fujifilm that support the media.
Olympus and Fujifilm cooperated on the development of the xD-Picture Card to respond to the needs of consumers using today's advanced digital still cameras. These users require greater memory capacity, and with initial sizes from 16 to 128 megabytes at introduction, and followed by 256 megabytes by the end of 2002 and larger sizes up to 8 gigabytes in the future, the new xD-Picture Card meets and exceeds memory needs.
Camera users concerned with compatibility of digital media between different brands of digital cameras will appreciate the xD-Picture Card's versatility. With a Compact Flash adapter the xD-Picture Card can be used with any Compact Flash compatible device for even more possibilities. A USB Reader/Writer provides easy computer connectivity, and a PCMCIA PC Card adapter for laptops and other devices ensures the easy downloading of data.
Although similar in some ways to all flash media, xD-Picture Cards are designed for increased durability and reliability despite their size. The small size of the card will also allow for digital manufacturers to design even smaller, more stylish and powerful digital devices in the future.
"Olympus has been a supporter of SmartMedia in our digital cameras since the introduction of our first digital camera in 1997, and we plan to continue distributing this media for our customers," said John Knaur, Product Manager for Digital Consumer Products Group at Olympus, "As the needs of digital camera users evolve and the demand for greater memory capacities combines with the necessity for compatibility, Olympus and Fuji are responding with a new media designed to grow along with the market and meet the challenges of tomorrow."
xD-Picture CARD MAIN FEATURES
Ultra-compact 0.79" x 0.98" x 0.67" size
With a volume of 0.85cc and a weight of 2g, the xD-Picture Card boasts the smallest form factor of any digital memory card, making it exceptionally portable and convenient. The miniature size of the new Card will enable development of even smaller digital cameras.
Planned capacities up to 8GB
Four types of Cards will be available initially: 16MB, 32MB, 64MB, and 128MB. 256MB Cards are planned to be introduced this December, with 512MB and 1GB - 8GB Cards to follow from the next year.
Core media concept
PC Card adapters and USB card readers will be available simultaneously with xD-Picture Cards, allowing easy interfacing with personal computers. A CompactFlash adapter is being developed that will allow the use of xD-Picture Cards in cameras designed for CompactFlash media. Plans to adapt the new media for PDAs, audio players and other IT appliances are also underway.
For more information, contact Olympus America Inc., Consumer Products Group, Two Corporate Center Dr., Melville, NY 11747-3157, ph: (631)844-5000, (800) 622-6372, Fax: (631) 844-5262 or the Olympus Web Site: http://www.olympusamerica.com/.
ABOUT OLYMPUS - Nothing's Impossible
Based in Melville, New York, Olympus America distributes a wide range of products for the consumer, scientific, health care, commercial and industrial markets. These include film cameras that provide the ultimate combination of performance and style, and digital cameras that produce the most realistic digital images yet available. Microcassette and digital voice recorders, binoculars, personal photo printers, medical and industrial endoscopes, biological and metallurgical microscopes and measuring instruments, clinical analyzers, and other high technology products. Olympus America Inc. is responsible for sales in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean,and Central and South America.
SmartMedia is a trademark of Toshiba Corporation. xD-Picture Card and other company and product names are trademarks of their respective owners in Japan and overseas.