SanDisk and Sony have jointly today announced the new SxS memory card format designed for professional camcorders. This new format is essentially the definition of a PCI Express memory card, it's the same size and has the same interface. Initially announced in 16 GB capacity we wouldn't be surprised to see this doubling within a few months (such is the pace of flash memory development). Although not strictly digital photography related (yet) this format may well be of interest to developers of professional medium format backs and other specialized cameras.

Press Release:

SanDisk and Sony Announce SxS™ Memory Card Specification for
Professional Camcorders

SxS™ offers high capacity and high-speed data transfer

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, April 15, 2007 -- SanDisk® Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK) and Sony Corporation today announced that the two companies have agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU ) with the intention of developing the SxS™ (S-by-S) memory card specification, with high-speed transfer technology compliant to the ExpressCard™ industry standard.
SxS™ memory cards will leverage the technology strength of SanDisk and Sony, who have a long and successful history of co-developing and promoting flash memory products. With this high-performance and high-reliability memory card, both companies are targeting workflow improvements for professional camcorders and non-linear video editing systems.

The SxS™ memory card specification uses flash memory and complies with the ExpressCard™ industry standard, and the card connects directly to computer systems through the high-speed PCI-Express™ bus. ExpressCard™ has been rapidly adopted by PC manufacturers to replace the legacy PC Card™ form factor, giving the SxS™ memory cards broad support in post-production hardware.

Sony will adopt this high-speed SxS™ memory card specification in its “XDCAM EX™“ series professional camcorders. SxS™ memory cards from SanDisk and Sony are expected to be available later in 2007.

Benefits 

  • High-speed data transfer of large video files. SxS™ memory cards are the first native PCI Express™ solid-state storage media1. PCI Express™ has a maximum data transfer speed of 2.5 gigabits per second, twice as fast as PC Card™-based storage media. In addition, SanDisk and Sony have optimized the technology protocol for controlling communication between hardware and SxS™ memory cards to enable high-speed transfer of large files, such as high-definition video, to PCs for non-linear video-editing. The target transfer speed of SxS™ memory cards is 800 megabits per second.
     
  • Compact Size. The SxS™ memory card specification uses ExpressCard™/34 modules (width: 34mm, height: 5mm, length: 75mm), half the size of PC Cards™. This enables the design of professional camcorders that are smaller and lighter, while still offering high storage capacities.

“Sony and SanDisk share the goal of providing leadership in high-performance, high-capacity recording solutions for professional video,” said Eli Harari, Chairman and CEO of SanDisk. “I am proud of the close cooperation we have had with Sony over the years, and I look forward to the exciting new products that SxS™ memory cards will enable.”

Yutaka Nakagawa, Executive Deputy President and Corporate Executive Officer of Sony Corporation, said: “Sony has successfully collaborated with SanDisk Corporation in promoting the Memory Stick formats. Significant milestones have been the Memory Stick PRO format in 2003, the Memory Stick Micro in 2005 and Memory Stick PRO-HG in 2006. I am delighted by today’s joint announcement of this new technology, which expands our collaboration to a new area, the professional video market, offering great benefits to users in this field. With the introduction of this SxS™ memory card, we will seek to expand its use throughout professional video applications to enable highly efficient workflow systems.”