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Taiwan memory card backers agree to talk with MMCA

Posted: 04 Feb 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:memory card? ic design? multimedia card?

A consortium in Taiwan that's trying to launch a memory card format said Tuesday (Feb. 1) it has &quote;agreed in principle&quote; to cooperate with the MultiMedia Card Association on technology and marketing initiatives.

The card format is called Mu-Card. Backers say it is compatible with the popular Secure Digital and MultiMediaCard formats already in the market but offers speeds twice that of USB 2.0.

The format will likely be an open standard, a possibility that has helped attract support from more than 40 local card makers, system designers and IC design houses, as well as the quasi-government research group known as Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), which served as the R&D coordinator.

Representatives of the Mu-Card Alliance met with board members from the MMCA last week in Taipei to discuss the new format and lay the groundwork for a formal presentation at the annual MMCA meeting at the end of February.

No definitive agreement on cooperation was signed during the meeting, and both sides want to keep a low profile until a formal arrangement is forged. "There are many possibilities" for cooperation, said Gordon Yu, a member of the Mu-Card Alliance and also president of Pretec, a major card maker. "But many details still need to be worked out."

Backers of the new memory card format believe the I/O is simpler to design with than that for SD cards because the Mu-Card uses USB protocols for the digital portion. But the speed is twice that of USB, and the low-power consumption is supposedly one-third or one-fourth that of USB 2.0.

The alliance plans on introducing the card in various stages this year, with demos early on and full-fledged functionality coming by year's end. Cards based on the format would be competitively priced with MMC-based cards, according to the alliance.

- Mike Clendenin

EE Times

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