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SanDisk's 2GB and 4GB CompactFlash cards. Courtesy of SanDisk, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. SanDisk announces 2GB, 4GB Type-I CompactFlash
(Friday, March 14, 2003 - 00:31 EST)

SanDisk has today announced that it has extended its CompactFlash card lineup with cards in capacities of two and four gigabytes respectively.

SanDisk's press release refers to the 4GB model as "the world's largest capacity CompactFlash memory card" - not quite accurate, since Pretec just announced a 6GB CompactFlash card that will ship in the second half of the year for a whopping $7500. Lexar also recently announced a 4GB CompactFlash card at PMA to ship in the second quarter, and Hitachi detailed plans last year to extend the Microdrive lineup to a maximum of 4 GB by this fall as well.

That's not to belittle SanDisk's announcement in any way though - their 4GB CompactFlash card is the largest announced in a Type-I format which will fit in any digital camera. All the other products noted above are Type-II cards which require a camera that supports the slightly thicker CompactFlash variant. Note, though, that most current digital cameras use the FAT16 file system, and hence support at most 2GB of space on a partition. A handful of Pro cameras, and all of Canon's recent announcements at PMA, support FAT32 - which would allow them to take advantage of the full 4GB capacity. We'd expect other manufacturers will support FAT32 as larger flash cards become more common, but at the moment you should definitely confirm what capacity limits your camera is bound by before considering these new CompactFlash cards.

SanDisk also impress on a second point - pricing. Pretec are currently selling their 3GB Type-II card for $1999, and as already mentioned had predicted a price of $7500 for their capacity-leading 6GB Type-II card. Lexar had announced pricing for their 4GB Type-II card as $1499, and Hitachi have yet to reveal planned pricing for the 4GB Type-II Microdrive. SanDisk's 4GB card will apparently be priced at a very impressive $999, and whilst we'd expect other companies will likely reevaluate their pricing by the time SanDisk's card becomes available, we're sure the dramatically lower price announced today will make both consumers and competitors stand up and take notice!

The best news, as far as we're concerned? As pricing for high-capacity CompactFlash drops, pricing for smaller cards that the everyday consumer uses are also being squeezed down. Even if your camera can't accept a card as large as 4GB, you could benefit from today's announcement... :)

Original Source Press Release:


HANNOVER, GERMANY, MARCH 13, 2003 - SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK) today introduced a four gigabyte (GB) CompactFlash* (CF) card, the world's largest capacity CompactFlash memory card. With the new announcement, SanDisk is leveraging its production 0.13 micron NAND flash technology and a new advanced high density component package to quadruple the capacity of its largest capacity CF card. The card, which is in the popular Type I CF format, was introduced at a press conference at the CeBIT trade show. SanDisk is demonstrating products at the show in Hall 21, Booth B-24.

Wes Brewer, senior director of retail product marketing and business development at SanDisk, said, "With the continued growth in camera resolution and corresponding file sizes, many professional and prosumer-class cameras are requiring higher capacity memory cards than are currently available. Larger card capacities are also being driven in the point and shoot category of cameras by the addition of Motion JPEG video clips and audio support for both still and motion images. SanDisk's ability to pack 4GB's into a Type I CompactFlash card is perfectly matched to sales trends in a growing segment of the digital imaging marketplace."

Chris Chute, a senior analyst at the IDC market research firm, said, "We predict an increased demand for higher capacity CompactFlash cards because of the growing popularity of high-resolution digital cameras and other consumer electronics products. This new SanDisk card will be an especially compelling product for professional photographers who need all the storage capacity they can get to store their many images."

With this unprecedented flash storage, more than 4,000 high resolution pictures could be stored on the 4GB CompactFlash card, or more than 1,000 digital songs or even a full length DVD movie. SanDisk also introduced a 2GB Type I CF card at CeBIT.

SanDisk CompactFlash cards are all built in the Type I format which fit into any CompactFlash slot. More than 500 different consumer electronics devices have CF slots today. High capacity CF cards (including the MicroDrive) from other manufacturers typically are built to the thicker Type II format and will only fit in a limited number of devices available today.

The 4GB CompactFlash card has a suggested retail price of $999.99 and is expected to start shipping this summer. The 2GB CF card has a suggested retail price of $499.99 and is expected to start shipping in May 2003.

SanDisk, the world's largest supplier of flash data storage products, designs, manufactures and markets industry-standard, solid-state data, digital imaging and audio storage products using its patented, high density flash memory and controller technology. SanDisk is based in Sunnyvale, CA.

The matters discussed in this news release contain forward looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties as described under the caption, "Factors That May Affect Future Results" in the company's annual report on Form 10-K-A and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The companies assume no obligation to update the information in this release.

All trade names are either registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective holders.
For more information or images on SanDisk and its products, contact: www.sandisk.com

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