Sony backs SD format: it's about time

800px-SDHC_memory_card_-_8GBMemory_Stick_Front_and_BackToday I was delighted to read about Sony jumping on the Secure Digital (SD) memory card bandwagon. All I can say is: what took you so long?

I understand that 10 years ago, when the SD format broke onto the scene and made its play to replace the similarly-shaped Multimedia Card (MMC ) the flash memory landscape looked a lot different than it does today.  Support for one format was non-existent. Devices were being built to make use of Compact Flash (CF), the now-defunct Smart Media card (SM), IBM Micro-drives, MMCs and of course Memory Stick.

That was then. Today, despite the expansion of the flash memory universe from a format point of view (Olympus and FujiFilm introduced the xD format in 2002), the market share of devices that use these formats has shifted to favour the SD format by a wide margin.

In our household, some of the many memory-card using gadgets are:

  • Nikon dSLR
  • Canon PowerShot Camera
  • Sony Cybershot
  • Wii
  • Archos media player
  • Two photo printers
  • Fisher-price digital camera
  • Panasonic TV

All of these devices with the exception of the Sony CyberShot use SD memory. And though we didn’t necessarily choose them for this shared capability, I am constantly reminded how convenient and cost-effective it is to have a single format. Not to mention how irritated I get when I want to swap files from the Sony camera onto another device.

So I congratulate Sony on their decision to support SD. It may not be better than Memory Stick or any other format for that matter, but it’s as close to a standard as we have, and with any luck, the rest of the electronics industry will throw their support behind it as well, at least until the relentless march of innovation forces the development of a new standard.

I’m very tempted to stay on my soap-box and give my thoughts on the lack of USB-cable standard… but that’s another post, for another time.

Update: Check out Marc Saltzman’s video coverage of the new Sony Bloggie – one of the first Sony products to accept an SD card.



  1. Phil

    Simon, by all means please do rant, you’ll hear nothing but “hear, hear!” for the basic reason that everyone is fed up with the major players not wanting to play with each other. Rather than coming up with a killer application and solid software, being portable to any device, each player might make. They’d rather kick sand at one another. It is about time that we all stand up and not just take what we are given but rather demand what is possible and take it to its’ zenith.

    So, perhaps Sony finally figured out they were losing out by not supporting a popular standing paradigm.

    Software has some serious catching up to hardwares’ capabilities before we can truly hyper activate anything. For instance the majority of PC (Mac), and Laptops are still only using 32 bit applications in stead of 64 bit. The difference between the two is transcendent. Sorry, now I’m ranting, have a great day.