By Sinead Carew and Lucas van Grinsven
SanDisk Corp. on Tuesday introduced memory cards that let consumers
move digital video and music among devices like cellphones and
computers without violating copyright protection.
The first cards to go on the market in November will come preloaded
with the Rolling Stones' new CD "A Bigger Bang," said SanDisk, which
helped pioneer flash memory storage cards used in phones and digital
Internet media company Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news) said customers
who subscribe to its digital music service could use the card which
will be sold under the name gruvi. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd also
said it would support gruvi in its phones.
SanDisk's new cards come as the entertainment industry moves content
to the Internet and onto devices such as mobile phones. The industry
is increasingly protecting its content with software that prevents
copying to plain flash memory cards or other non-secure storage
SanDisk, based in Sunnyvale, California, hopes to convince other
entertainment companies to sell their content preloaded on the cards,
or make it available for secure Internet downloads straight onto the
"This enables secure content to be truly portable for the first time,"
SanDisk Chief Executive Eli Harari said at a press event at the
Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Assocation, or CTIA wireless
conference in San Francisco.
Harari said that once the cards are widely used by technology and
entertainment companies, he expects them to bring in sizable revenue
for the company by the end of 2007.
"This will take one or two years to become a very substantial
business," Harari said on the sidelines of the conference.
He said he expects the bulk of sales to come from empty cards that
consumers then fill with the content of their choice and that demand
will increase as prices come down.
He sees preloaded cards such as the 265 Megabyte $40 card that will go
on sale in November with a Rolling Stones album on it as an example of
how the cards could be used.
SanDisk hopes companies would use Sandisk's TrustedFlash technology to
implement their own digital rights management systems, Harari said.
"It has the potential to change how people view mobile content," said
Ted Cohen of record label EMI, adding that the company would see how
consumers receive the Rolling Stones product before more similar
products for other performers.
The TrustedFlash cards will work as normal mass storage cards with
capacity of up to several gigabytes of data -- but the movies, music
or games on the cards would be protected with digital rights
management (DRM) software.
The cards can also contain media and game playing software, which make
it possible to play content on devices that were not originally
designed for those services, though devices must be compatible with
the TrustedFlash cards.
The new type of storage media is designed to support electronic
commerce and enable mobile phones to perform secure financial
SanDisk said it is unique in that it offers the advantage of
portability, so consumers will be able to take their legally purchased
music, movies and games with them and play them on any compatible
Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.
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