Choice and Flash Memory
By webmink on Jul 04, 2007
I just bought a new camera, a Sanyo digital video that films in HD (720p) and stores onto flash memory cards. My plan is to give video podcasting a try, but as you can tell from the track record on LiveMink that may be hopeful. Still, it's a cool toy and I am having great fun playing with it.
I actually have a load of flash memory cards due to my long-term addiction to digital photography. The problem is, they are all different kinds. There are CompactFlash cards (in three thicknesses), SD cards, micro SD cards, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Duo and a whole load more. I have a nice 1Gb CompactFlash card but it won't fit the new camera, which uses SD cards. So I have had to get a new SD Card.
Why are there so many formats? Well, they seem to be defined by competing manufacturers and different regional vendor consortia. Memory Stick is from Sony, for example, and hardly used at all by other manufacturers. That means I can be sure that if I have a Sony product, replacing it with a product from some other manufacturer will also involve buying new memory cards and perhaps new adaptors to allow them to be plugged into my computer. As a result, once Sony has managed to get a customer the cost to that customer of exercising choice is higher. More than that, there are quite a few accessories that don't support Memory Stick, so my choice as a customer is further constrained.
What I really want as an end-user is many fewer formats. Choice is still good - there needs to be a range of capacities, of storage technologies, of access speeds and so on. But why should there be so many different connector/card formats?