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Hitachi gets flash with 128MB memory card

Can store two hours of video

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Hitachi has announced a 128MB flash memory card, based on new chip stacking technologies, that can store about two hours of video, enough space for at least some of the Hollywood recent blockbusters, although Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet is a wee bit too long still.

The seven-pin MultiMediaCard is 32x24x1.4mm and is similar to, but slightly thinner than, the SD Card. Hitachi says that it expects to start selling the card in volume early next year, once it has ramped up production of its 0.18 micron 512Mb flash chips.

Hitachi says that the card's storage capacity has been made possible by advances in CMOS process technology and techniques that enable a single flash cell to store two bits of data.

It seems that for video, you need a little over one megabyte per minute or 64MB for an hour of film. A marketing manager at Hitachi told the EETimes that improved compression would soon be available that would extend the recording time of the cards to several hours. So, Ken's take on the Shakespearean tragedy will soon be pocket sized.

Alongside developments in capacity, Hitachi has been working on security features. The MultiMediaCard has a cipher function in the microprocessor and stores the cipher key in a protected area of the card. This was put in place as a kind of stop gap until the MultiMediaCard association's security standard spec is finalised. The final version is expected in March 2001. ®

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