Advertising and Marketing Opportunities with Odyssey Media Group

Technology

 June 27, 2000
Palm Brand Products To Feature Secure Digital Card Slot For Expansion

 Palm, Inc. has announced that it will bring the smallest, lightest expansion slot to handheld computers, by including the Secure Digital (SD) Card slot in future Palm branded products in early 2001. A sleek form factor which will integrate elegantly into a wearable handheld, the SD Card offers a flexible solution that can provide both data storage and I/O access. Users will be able to plug in cards to make backup copies of their data; to access digital media like electronic books, maps or MP3 files; or use an SD Card with Bluetooth for wireless connectivity.

The SD Card, established by leaders Matsushita Electric (Panasonic), SanDisk, Toshiba and supported by a 60+ company consortium, is the fifth type of hardware expansion technology the Palm OS(r) platform will support, making it the most expandable handheld platform on the market. Since the SD Card is also compatible with existing MultiMedia Cards (MMC), customers will be able to use these cards in SD-equipped devices when they debut.

Hardware expansion products for Palm branded products currently make use of Palm handheld's serial connectors, which are also used for synchronizing data between the handheld and a desktop computer. Currently, there are more than 500 developers designing or providing snap-on products and accessories for Palm branded products, including keyboards, modems, GPS devices, printers and industry-specific tools like scientific probes. While some of the products currently designed for the serial connector will migrate to SD Cards, Palm will continue to offer external hardware expansion for larger form factor I/O peripherals like keyboards and modems via the same connector that is used for HotSync(r) operations.

"With its small size and the broad support from industry leaders, the SD Card is a logical hardware expansion option for users of handheld computers," said Jim Forbes, a Demo senior analyst and producer of DEMOmobile. "Since companies are planning inter-operable SD media for both data-intensive applications like graphics and I/O connectivity options like Bluetooth, products that support the SD slot allow consumers and enterprise customers to take advantage of important expansion products that expand the functionality of their handhelds."

A very compact internal expansion option approximately one-fourth the size of a compact flash card, the SD Card measures 32 mm long by 24 mm wide by 2.1 mm thick.

"By integrating an SD slot, Palm will be able to offer extremely thin, elegant products that offer tremendous benefit to individual users and enterprise customers," noted Alan Kessler, chief operating officer of platform and products for Palm, Inc. "For enterprises, SD is an seamless, cost-effective solution for IT organization to leverage as they distribute proprietary databases and software and support this content with a minimum of interruption to their mobile workers. Consumers will enjoy the easy customization of their handheld and the plug-and-play interoperability of the SD Cards between various products in their household."

In addition to its postage-stamp size, Palm elected to support the SD protocol for several important reasons, including: compatibility, cost, data storage access and security.