Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Play Your Cards Right; IT Standard: Whether It's to Store Your First Novel or a Year's Worth of Photographs, Smart Cards Are the New Supersavers, Says Ashley Norris

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Play Your Cards Right; IT Standard: Whether It's to Store Your First Novel or a Year's Worth of Photographs, Smart Cards Are the New Supersavers, Says Ashley Norris

Article excerpt

Byline: ASHLEY NORRIS

IMAGINE going everywhere with your own personal photo album containing hundreds of your favourite shots. Or being able to hear music from the last 10 CDs you bought, no matter where you are. Or having that unfinished novel always at hand, in case inspiration strikes ... all stored on a tiny, chewing gum-sized card.

The emergence of smart cards is largely due to the amount of data they will soon be able to hold. Most cards sold today are used in MP3 players and digital cameras and can store up to 64Mb of information. That's about an hour's worth of music or more than 100 high-quality photos. In two years' time, cards that can archive one gigabyte of information will be common - that's an hour of video, or 15 hours of MP3 music.

Before you stuff your wallet, however, there is a catch. There are five smart-card systems, and they are largely incompatible with each other.

The card you choose is also determined by which device you pick. It will be very common to have two different types of card.

Cards are still expensive to make. It could be more than five years before a big card, storing around one gigabyte, sells for a must-have price (around [pound]20, say). There are also other small storage media items on the horizon which could hinder the card's progress. Data-Play, for example, is a coin-sized disk designed with games, music and video in mind. It stores 500Mb of info (eight hours of MP3 music) and is expected to retail for [pound]5 when it goes on sale in 2002.

Memory Stick

Made by: Sony.

Where you find it: On Sony's Vaio laptops, digital cameras, camcorders, music players, telephones and its Clie PDA. Also on its picture-frame digitalimage display screens.

Maximum storage now: 128Mb for [pound]180.

It's difficult to buy a Sony product that doesn't feature a Memory Stick slot.

It's useful for passing files between Sony PCs or images from camera to computer. Owners can access music, images and work files that can be stored on the same Memory Stick. …

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