RealTime IT News

SanDisk Makes Media More Mobile

In an example of how technology makes it possible to store a lot of data on a small form factor, SanDisk has begun selling flash cards that can safely transport movies, music and games.

The company's new "gruvi" TrustedFlash cards will allow consumers to buy a variety of entertainment media types on flash memory cards fitted with digital security technology, courtesy of an on-board processor and a special cryptographic engine.

The cards can be popped into mobile phones, laptop computers and handheld devices the same way users would plug in a USB drive. SanDisk officials announced the new technology at the CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment Show in San Francisco.

Music producers and movie studios have been reluctant to trust their content to the wares of technology providers for a couple of reasons. First, there has been a dearth of reliable security technology for such products; second, the sophistication of hackers or crackers has grown.

TrustedFlash could allay such fears and crack these go-to-market barriers.

Content providers will be able to release songs and films worry-free on TrustedFlash products. Consumers will be able to download the content from online digital music services through their mobile phone or PC. They'll also be able to purchase pre-recorded content on SanDisk's new gruvi cards, the first product to be released with TrustedFlash.

The technology opens other doors for customers who crave digital content. Today, most consumers can only purchase certain content to run on specific devices because of previously inked alliances and exclusive arrangements between device makers and content providers.

TrustedFlash cards are independent of a hardware host, letting consumers use their purchased content in a variety of devices because the technology by its nature makes the card the manager of digital rights. Once consumers purchase the card, they may pop it into any device and run the content.

"TrustedFlash cards will unlock a world of premium content to consumers using mobile phones, music players, game players and video players, while providing strong security to content providers such as record, movie and game companies," SanDisk CEO Eli Harari said in a statement.

EMI Music, Samsung Mobile Communications, Yahoo! Music, among others have endorsed TrustedFlash.

SanDisk said TrustedFlash will support mobile commerce applications and allow handsets to execute online financial transactions such as credit card payments in 2006.

TrustedFlash cards are available immediately to OEM customers in the miniSD, microSD and SD card formats, with maximum capacities of up to 2 gigabytes. Prices for the cards have not been made public.