Today, some of the world’s biggest data can be stored on the smallest devices. Photos, videos, music, games, TV shows, and so much more – all stored on memory cards as tiny as a person’s fingernail. It’s all thanks to two decades of technological innovation in SD and microSD cards. We’ve reached the point where people can store up to 1TB of data on today’s memory cards, compared to just 8MB in 2000 – almost a 125,000x capacity increase over the first SD cards1.
It’s an incredible achievement, and one that we realize couldn’t have been done in isolation. It took three visionary companies that came together to transform digital data storage for the 21st century. That’s why we’re proud to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the SD Association (SDA), along with our founding partners: Matsushita, now Panasonic, and Toshiba Corporation, whose memory division was spun off into KIOXIA Corporation.
How the SDA Came to Exist
The year is 2000. At the turn of the century, the market for memory cards was fragmented. There were a handful of proprietary cards designed to work on some devices, and not on others. With rising consumer electronic demand, this way of handling data simply couldn’t scale and survive. In reinventing the memory card, we started by looking at how to make life easier for consumers and businesses.
It soon became clear that people valued features such as portability, upgradability, and interoperability. They needed memory cards that were compact and easy to use. And they had to work seamlessly across multiple platforms – whether smartphones, drones, surveillance cameras, automobiles, industrial machines, or other devices.
New Millenium Calls for New Memory Card Standards
In other words, a memory card standard needed to be established. Alongside Matsushita and Toshiba Corporation, we founded the SDA in January 2000 to create an ecosystem for collaboration and growth among memory card manufacturers. Thanks to the efforts of many, the industry has been thriving ever since.
Here are just a few of the milestones that have been achieved over the years (courtesy of the SD Association2):
- 2000 – SD Card Introduced
- 2005 – microSD Introduced (SD Ver.1.20)
- 2006 – SDHC Introduced (SD Ver.2.00)
- 2009/2010 – UHS-I mode 104MB/s, SDXC Introduced (SD Ver.3.00/3.01)
- 2017 – UHS-III mode 624MB/s, Command Queue, Low Voltage Introduced (SD Ver.6.00)
- 2018/2019 – SD Express & microSD Express (PCIe/NVMe) 985MB/s, SDUC (SD Ver.7.00/7.10)
Thanks to technological achievements such as these, bus speed has increased nearly 100 times from 12MB/s to 985MB/s2. Through the end of 2019, an estimated 5 billion SD and microSD cards had been sold worldwide2 – cementing SD as a trusted brand and leading standard for removable memory cards.
Future Decades of Memory Card Innovation
Here we are, at a historic memory card moment. It’s been twenty years in the making. Yet, as much as SD cards have evolved, the future holds even greater opportunities for capacity and performance. These tiny devices might have captured our most precious data over the years. But, they have also captured our imaginations at the possibilities enabled when technology, innovation, and collaboration come together.
- SD & microSD memory cards – The world’s first choice in memory cards – 20 years of innovation. https://www.sdcard.org/press/whatsnew/SD_microSDMemoryCardsTheWorldsFirstChoiceInMemoryCards_20YearsOfinnovation.pdf
- SDA 20th Anniversary Infographic. https://www.sdcard.org/press/whatsnew/SDA20thAnniversary_Infographic.pdf
The Next Game-Changer Is in the Cloud
Game Changer The most-played game of the 2000s was not Wii Sports, Grand Theft Auto, or The Sims. It was…
What Happens After Moore’s Law?
The assumption that every technology will continue to get faster and better has become second nature much in thanks to…
AI Enters the Fight to Cure Breast Cancer
In March of 2020, some positive news was buried in virus panic: using advanced stem cell technology, doctors cured a…
What Is “Next-Gen”? How SSDs are Shaping Gaming’s Evolution
In November, Sony and Microsoft released their newest home video game consoles. Along with a bevy of new games and…
The Project That Never Sleeps
Perched on the window in the top left corner of his living room sits a mounted DSLR camera that peers…
Five Reasons the 2019 RISC-V Summit is a Can’t-Miss Event
Whether you’re a veteran RISC-V enthusiast or brand new to the world of open-source instruction set architecture (ISA), the RISC-V…
The IoT Evolution – Top 9 IoT Use Cases of 2019
As smart sensors are placed in billions of connected devices around the world, new IoT applications are generating massive streams…
Driving to Data-Centric Architectures and 1B RISC-V Cores
Two years ago we kicked off our commitment to open-source innovation by announcing our goal to transition over one billion…
In 2039, Could Fully Autonomous and Connected Cars Exist?
Recently, I gave the opening remarks and sat in on a panel at A Data-Driven Futurean automotive industry event hosted…
2019 Data Center Year in Review
The era of digital business transformation has been in full thrust in 2019, as emerging applications and data center infrastructure…
Industrial-Grade Storage Enables Drones for Search and Rescue Teams
First things, first: I’m a proud member of the El Dorado County Search and Rescue (EDSAR) organization and have been…