Archive for the ‘Digital Flash Media’ Category

Your phone is your credit card

In Digital Flash Media, microSD, Mobile Payment, SD on August 24, 2010 at 10:59 am
Mobile phone manufacturers market share in Q3-...

Image via Wikipedia

A handful of companies are pushing the case for the phone to be your payment medium. I am not talking about the likes of Obopay who primarily another level of middlemen between the money and the recipient. My focus is on companies miniaturizing antenna technology to fit in the microSD formfactor. The storage device now doubles as an NFC device. It draws power when placed in the microSD slot of the cell phone.

The 2008 market share looks really old but it is true that iPhone still comes under the ‘others’ portion of the world wide pie. An estimated 60% of the phones used in the US come with a microSD slot.

Tyfone, based in Portland, Oregon, aims to bring all your financial (and identity) data to your cell phone through their microSD based ecosystem. Their selling point stems from the disparity between mobile carriers and financial institutions in the US. This is best explained by their CTO, Siva Narendra, in the video below.

Tyfone’s SideTap SD memory cards have undergone extensive and successful trials with multiple partners over the last 18 months. In the coming months, consumers will be able to purchase SideTap MicroSD memory cards and use them at major retailers. Tyfone will soon announce partnerships that will make the first wave of this important payment technology available for consumers, financial institutions and retailers.

DeviceFidelity, on the other hand, has focussed on becoming the credit card equivalent for NFC enabled storage devices. They have already partnered with Visa to provide In2Pay solutions to all types of cellphones including the iPhone. CEO, Deepak Chain, cited In2Pay’s open architecture as the hassle free approach to introduce mobile payment programs into the existing infrastructure.

Bank of America now provides a microSD based VISA card. It is not clear who the technology implementer is.

Wireless Dynamics were the first to get into the development of SD based NFC solutions but slipped out of my radar in recent times. A quick visit to their website identifies them as a design and manufacturing group. Probably that’s where their strengths are.

Your memory card will soon be your credit card and will enjoy their best days before NFC becomes native to cellphones. Either way, loosing your phone will become akin to loosing your wallet. Take care.


Eye-Fi Cards

In Digital Flash Media, SD on August 19, 2010 at 10:10 am

It wasn’t exactly love at first sight for me when it comes to Eye-Fi. Judging by the fact that they were causing access issues in one of my reader designs. Still, I got the chance to try them as part of the testing process. Once the main issue (frequency related – Eye-Fi operate at higher frequencies (but within specifications) than regular SD media) was solved, I got to play around with the media. It’s intrinsic uses were evident but I was a little speculative to begin with. The solution isn’t entirely wireless – you still needed the single slot reader shipped with the media to install the applications – but still pretty impressive once you get past installation.



News is that Target will now start selling Eye-Fi cards. Read Eye-Fi cards come to Target.

Eye-Fi cards provide a great retro fit option for cameras that do not have wireless technologies in built to go wireless. They are available only in the standard SD form factor as of today. Other media types are not as popular to warrant a wireless option. microSD formfactor is a possibility and given that they are used only in mobile devices that are already wifi enabled makes a second antenna-bearing media redundant and might also lead to interference if not done properly.

Product comparison is available at the Eye-Fi site.

They now have the first whiff of competition in the form of Toshiba. Toshiba’s plans are to make this a standard which is good news from a holistic perspective. The image at hints at peer to peer sharing meaning you can share pictures between cameras if so desired. This is now available only in the ProX2 version of Eye-Fi I believe.

Between NFC and WiFi, the applications for wireless enabled SD cards are ever increasing.

WORM and iSSD from SanDisk

In Digital Flash Media, SD, WORM on August 18, 2010 at 10:34 am

SanDisk is making a sort of re-entry into the storage world’s consciousness. Two of their recent announcements are quite exciting.

One, is of course their proprietary WORM media. WORM stands for Write Once Read Many. I have had the chance to work with the WORM team and the prospects for this media are quite promising. Its foremost application is for the law enforcement agencies where digital evidence was not perceived to be tamper proof. The WORM hopes to allay such fears and can protect data for up to 100 years – at least 10 times longer than conventional storage medium such as DVDs and definitely more scratch proof.

courtesy of


The second is their wafer thin SSD solution – the wafer thin integrated SSD or iSSD coming in at 64GB and smaller than a postage stamp, it opens up the possibilities for space conscious mobile devices. As noted in the press release

“The new category of embedded SSDs should enable OEMs to produce tablets and notebooks with an unprecedented combination of thin, lightweight form factors and fast performance,” said Doron Myersdorf, senior director, SSD marketing, SanDisk. “With our embedded flash storage leadership, SanDisk believes it is uniquely positioned to deliver the ultra compact SSD solutions needed by OEMs.”

Measuring 16mm x 20mm x 1.85mm and weighing less than one gram, the drive uses a Ball Grid Array form factor and a SATA interface, and is compatible with all leading operating systems.