Rolling Stones on Flash memory

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SanDisk, the memory -card manufacturer, has released the latest Rolling Stones album A Bigger Bang on a new secured mini Flash card. Available from November, the album will be offered on SanDisk's microSD (formerly TransFlash) card - named Gruvi - and can be played on any device that uses a SD card slot, such as mobile phones, laptops or PDAs.

A Bigger Bang is the first music release to use SanDisk's new TrustedFlash technology. TrustedFlash enables content providers to lock content to the card - using a rights management protocol that is on the card itself - but gives consumers the freedom to play the card in a variety of supported devices.

Consumers can preview and purchase - directly from the card - other Rolling Stones music from the band's back catalog, through either a PC or a supported mobile phone. However, not all mobile operating systems will be catered for. Initially, only Palm and Windows Mobile will be supported - Symbian phones will be added next year. Samsung will support Gruvi Flash card in its next generation of phones, the company said.

Not all cards will be released as music albums. SanDisk believes the medium can also be used for the promotion of new CDs and videos, by releasing just a couple of songs or clips from movies prior to their release.

Consumers can also download content to the card, which is why SanDisk likes to refer to the product as "an iPod on a card". SanDisk is still reviewing the best video codec for the Flash card, so initially video clips will not be available. ®

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