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Lexar's 4GB CompactFlash card alongside a quarter for scale. Courtesy of Lexar, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Lexar 4GB CompactFlash now shipping
(Tuesday, August 5, 2003 - 06:32 EDT)

A press release from Lexar Media Inc. announces that the company is now shipping the first commercially available 4GB CompactFlash card.

Costing around $1499, the Type-II card that was first announced in March of this year is rated at 40X in Lexar's parlance, translating to a 6MB / second sustained write speed. At this price-point, the card is targetted at professional users, although we're sure some prosumers will be considering it as well.

Lexar is expecting the card to sell well to photographers using digital SLRs, and particularly those wanting to capture images in a RAW file format - something that allows more flexibility in post-processing images, but requires significantly more storage space than JPEG files. Other likely good matches for such a large card will be photographers who must capture large numbers of images in a single go, such as for example those with cameras in underwater housings, or taking photos at an event where there may be extended periods of action where having to switch cards means missing photo opportunities.

One thing is very important to be aware of before purchasing a CompactFlash card greater than 2GB, and Lexar is working hard to educate retailers on this point. To be able to address the memory beyond 2GB, cameras must support the FAT32 file system, as opposed to the FAT16 system used on most cameras. Obviously it is in the interests of both consumers and Lexar to make sure the message is understood - consumers don't want an unhappy surprise when they try to use all 4GB in a FAT16 camera, and Lexar doesn't want cards being returned for a refund because of compatibility issues. With that in mind, Lexar's site lists all cameras currently known to support FAT32, with the URL being listed on the product packaging.

One other point on the FAT16 / FAT32 issue may not be immediately obvious. Should the card be accidentally formatted in a FAT16 camera, it is possible that some cameras will not be able to reformat it as FAT32 - the reason being that they look at the master boot record (MBR) of the card, and use the FAT system shown there when reformatting.

To help users in this situation, Lexar ships the current version of its ImageRescue software on the cards, and includes a cable to connect the card to a Mac or PC. ImageRescue can now format cards as FAT32, regardless of whether they were previously formatted as FAT16. The program is shipped on the flash card, so the first thing users should do on buying a Lexar Pro card is to download ImageRescue and store a backup somewhere safe.

Lexar tells us that cards of 1GB or greater capacity are now making up a significant portion of their sales volume and revenues, and expects the 4GB cards to sell similarly well. The capacity and value seems rather remarkable, when you consider that 18 months ago the same price would get you a 1GB card. Even more mind-boggling is a comparison with pricing from three years ago, when Lexar's largest Type-II CF card was an 8X 256MB unit that cost $759.99 list!

Original Source Press Release:

Lexar Media Leads Industry with World's Highest Capacity CompactFlash Memory Card

Lexar Media Brings 4GB CompactFlash to Photographers Worldwide

FREMONT, CA, August 4, 2003, - Lexar Media, Inc. (Nasdaq: LEXR), a leading designer, developer and marketer of high-performance digital media and accessories, today announced that the company is shipping the world's first and only 4GB CompactFlash memory card. Specifically designed for professional photographers shooting hi-resolution images, the 4GB card stores about 600 images captured in RAW mode using a 6-megapixel professional camera. Amateur photographers shooting with lower resolution cameras could expect to capture as many as 45,000 JPEG images using the high capacity memory card. The actual number of images a 4GB card can store depends on the camera quality, resolution and image file selection mode.

The 4GB memory card is designed to meet the insatiable demand of professional photographers for high-capacity storage. For many professionals, 600 RAW images is comparable to the number of images shot in a day, which allows for extended, uninterrupted shooting and fewer memory cards to manage throughout the day.

The 4GB card is speed rated at 40X, which is capable of a sustained minimum write speed of 6MB/s. As with all of Lexar Media Professional Series CompactFlash, the 4GB card features Write Acceleration (WA) technology, to achieve even greater speeds in WA enabled cameras. Lexar Media Image Rescue software is included free with the 4GB card, enabling photographers to recover deleted or seemingly lost images, or permanently erase the card preventing future image recovery.

"Once again Lexar Media is leading the memory card industry by delivering the highest capacity CompactFlash on the market," said Jim Gustke, Lexar Media, general manager of marketing. "Many segments of the professional photography market have a real need for extraordinary capacity CompactFlash cards. Commercial, wedding, celebrity, fashion, and sports photographers often shoot hundreds of images uninterrupted and many shoot in RAW or TIFF mode to capture the highest quality image possible. Because professional cameras can generate RAW files over 9MB and TIFF files in excess of 15MB, extremely high capacity CompactFlash cards, such as our 4GB, are now a necessity."

"By allowing this large number of high quality images to be saved on one CompactFlash card, we expect professional photographers will increasingly shoot the highest quality image possible," said John Omvik, director of product marketing, Lexar Media. "We also expect professionals with our 4GB card to become more adventurous and shoot without concerns of capacity limitations. This unique combination enhances the photography experience and increases the chances of capturing winning shots."

"Until the introduction of this card, I was shooting with 1GB cards and often I filled four in a single afternoon," said Jim Jordan, advertising, fashion and celebrity photographer. "With a 4GB card, I don't waste time changing cards in the middle of a shoot. With the high profile clients I typically shoot for, regular card changing can be an inconvenience to both of us. At the end of the day, I only have one card to keep track of, which simplifies my life and my assistant's life."

"I'm on location almost 250 days of the year and many times in unpredictable climates and on unpredictable terrain," said Jeffrey Aaronson, internationally recognized photojournalist. "With Lexar's huge capacity 4GB CompactFlash card, I can keep my card in my camera at all times and not worry about changing the card in dangerous situations or exposing the inside of my camera to the elements, which provides ease of mind and allows me to focus on creating images."

The 4GB card is CompactFlash Type II and requires the host camera to support the FAT32 file system. Most digital cameras today support the FAT16 file system, but the FAT16 system only supports data up to 2GB. All CompactFlash cards above 2GB require the camera to support the FAT32 file system. Compatible cameras include Canon Powershot G3, Canon Powershot G5, Canon Powershot S45, Canon Powershot S50, Canon EOS 10D, Canon EOS-1Ds, Kodak DCS 720X, Kodak 760, Kodak DCS Pro Back (all models), Kodak DCS Pro 14n, and Olympus E-1. Most higher-end camera models being introduced today will support the new FAT32 standard. More information about FAT32 and a regularly updated list of compatible cameras is available at www.lexarmedia.com/FAT32.

The 4GB card is available now at many photo specialty stores at an expected price of $1,499.

About Lexar Media, Inc.
Lexar Media, Inc. (Nasdaq: LEXR) is a leading designer, marketer and licensor of award-winning removable flash-based digital storage media, card readers and ATA controller solutions for the digital photography, consumer electronics, industrial and communications markets. Lexar Media brands digital memory cards in the industry's most popular formats including CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, MultiMediaCard and SD. As a digital storage innovator, Lexar Media was the first to develop and advance proprietary read-write speed standards for its USB-enabled CompactFlash cards and holds over 60 controller patents. Licensees of Lexar Media's technology include Olympus, SanDisk, Samsung Electronics and Sony. Headquartered in Fremont, California, Lexar Media also has offices in London and Tokyo. Lexar Media is a member of the Russell 2000 Index. For more information, please call 1-800-789-9418 or visit www.lexarmedia.com.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking information within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and is subject to the safe harbor created by those sections. These forward-looking statements include statements related to the benefits of and consumer demand for Lexar Media's high performance CompactFlash products. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by these forward-looking statements. These risks include that the growth and success of Lexar Media's business depends on its ability to achieve and maintain technology leadership, and sell and market products that are commercially accepted. Readers should also refer to the risk factors described in Lexar Media's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for its fiscal year ended December 31, 2002 filed with the SEC on March 31, 2003. Lexar Media assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking information contained in this news release.

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