Sunday, February 20, 2011

Will The Usb Memory Stick Ultimately Be Superseded By The Sd Card?

By David Memory

The SD card, with its optimal storage capacity derivatives, such as the SDXC, with its 2TB capacity, are pushing the frontiers of portable data storage ever forward. The fact that this thumbnail sized device is capable of containing more data than the average desk top computer was able to store back in the 1990's, means that its potential uses are vast. Currently used in conjunction with all manner of portable devices, such as media players, camcorders and digital stills cameras, GPS devices, video games consoles, tablet and netbook computers, as well as cell phones and ebook readers such as Kindle, the market for these miniature memory cards is vast. They are now supported by over 400 brands across the world, making it the de facto 'industry standard' memory card for the portable device market.

The USB memory stick differs greatly from the SD card. As it connects to host devices via a USB port the body of this format needs to be protected. SD cards are inserted into the host via a slot, and therefore need no protective encasing whilst in use. The USB memory stick needs permanent protection, making them significantly larger than SD cards.

Like SD cards, the USB flash memory stick is universally supported which means that it is compatible with every modern computer on the market. All computers now have at least one USB port. They are also as technically robust as they are physically strong. Many memory sticks allow one million write or erase cycles and have a ten year data retention span. This is an incredibly high spec for something that is increasingly seen to be a disposable commodity, and are thus being given away for free along with mugs, pens and coasters by corporate entities, replete with company logo's.

In short, their appeal is great. They are not as small as the SD card, but even the largest stick is no bigger than a slender pack of chewing gum, and many are a third of this size. These days they are manufactured as key fobs which means that they are much less likely to be lost. Attaching externally means that they are a lot less fiddly than SD cards, which are only easily inserted into hand held devices owing to the fact that users can maneuver the device and the card at the same time, marrying the two easily. Heavier deices would not permit such easy insertion and retrieval.

There are very distinct benefits to both formats, but due to the fact that a lot of hand held devices are now used in conjunction with computers there may be a considerable push for conformity in media across the board. If this were to happen it is likely that the SD card would win out as USB formats are unfeasible within portable products.

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The SD card is now the 'industry standard' in the portable USB storage devices market.

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