SanDisk signs on Grand Stores

Grand Stores has become the sole distributor of SanDisk memory products in the UAE at a time when a new line of ultra-compact flash media cards are about to hit the market.

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By  Kieran Potts Published  May 22, 2003

Grand Stores have signed a deal with SanDisk to secure a position as the UAE's sole distributor of SanDisk flash memory products. The deal coincides with the announcement of several new removable flash card formats that may break flash media from the digital photography mould.

Removable flash cards are about to become an integral part of all consumer electronics devices, from mobile phones to DVD players. This will be made possible by a new generation of flash media that are smaller than a 10 fil coin and boast gigabytes of storage space.

Just a few months ago, SD (Secure Digital) was the smallest removable storage format, about the size of a postage stamp. Then the xD-Picture Card came along, half the size of SD and promising eventual capacities of up to eight gigabytes.

Secure Digital – developed by SanDisk, Toshiba and Panasonic – has hit back with the Mini-SD. Based on the technology behind Secure Digital flash, Mini-SD was developed in response to demand from manufacturers for smaller storage devices for use in mobile phones and other handheld devices.

SanDisk, one of the world’s largest manufacturer of flash media, says that currently digital photography accounts for 90% of its industry. That’s about to change. Mini-SD hopes to tap into the lucrative MP3 player and mobile phone markets and be adopted by no end of electronic gadgets.

Unlike xD, Mini-SD is backwards compatible with existing SD devices by means of a small adaptor.

Also, SD technology is more future-proof than xD because it has an in-built controller; xD does not and so works only with xD-compatible devices - a distinct disadvantage.

However, the Mini-SD faces stiff competition from several upcoming ultra-compact storage formats. Hitachi is shrinking its MultMediaCard into a new form factor called Reduced Size MMC, while Sony has launched its shortened Memory Stick format (the Duo) and the higher capacity Duo Pro is just around the corner.

Grand Stores is a popular retailer in the UAE for photographic equipment and digital imaging and is now branching out to mobile computing and wireless technologies. As a distributor, this is key to SanDisk's strategy of infiltrating other consumer electronics sectors with its flash media technology.

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