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CES 2005 SanDisk - the original inventor of flash storage cards - has introduced a SD flash memory card with built-in USB connectivity. Consumers can just use the SD card in their digital camera, then whip it out and plug it into any USB port, without needing an SD card reader.

USB-friendly SD flash memorySD memory card and USB flash drive shipments will total 235 million units by 2008, with SD the dominant full-size card form factor. A device that can successfully be used in both sockets without external caps or adapters will allow effortless transfer of data, music, photos, and videos between PCs and portable consumer electronics devices, the company believes. The first products to be released with this technology are scheduled to be introduced in Q1.

SanDisk also announced that it is entering the portable video game accessory market with a line of flash memory cards targeted at the $25bn video game market. The company's entry into the video game market comes as companies that manufacture portable video game consoles develop devices that include slots for standard flash memory cards. SanDisk initially is offering the new game cards in Memory Stick Pro Duo and SD, one of the most popular card formats. Sony’s first handheld game device, the PlayStation Portable, has just been introduced in Japan and uses Memory Stick Pro Duo cards.

Separately, the company unveiled its latest MP3 player line-up, the Sansa e100 series. The iPod Mini-esque unit is a Flash-based product like SanDisk's existing players, and will come in 512MB and 1GB capacities, but there's an SD slot too to allow for further expansion. There's an FM radio on board, and the player can also cope with DRM-protected WMA files. Power comes from a single AAA battery, and there's a four-line LCD display.

The 512MB e130 will cost $149, while the 1GB e140 is priced at $199. Both go on sale in the US in March 2005. ®

Tony Smith contributed to this report.

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