The SD Card Association was able to celebrate its 10th birthday in some style this month as it coincided with Sony?s announcement that it will be producing SD compatible products.

Sony has developed a new form for the memory slot in its compact camera and video camera products that accepts both SD and its own Memory Stick cards. Sony has remained the only company to exclusively support a card format other than Secure Digital or Compact Flash since Olympus began shifting away from the xD format in its mass-market compact cameras.

The move by the Cyber-shot manufacturer acknowledges the strength of the SD format and its domination of the removable memory card market. SD Association marketing chairman and Toshiba executive Kazunori Nakano told Amateur Photographer that the format, including SD, Mini SD and Micro SD now accounts for 80% of the memory card market, a figure Sony could not afford to ignore. Nakano explained that it was Nokia?s decision to adopt the card type for use in its mobile devices that took the format to this level. Beforehand SD?s market share stood at just 40-50%.

Sony will also be selling its own range of SD cards

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas the association was promoting its newest SD card type, SDXC, which has a theoretical maximum capacity of up to 2TB. This figure is unlikely to be achieved in reality for another 10 years, but even the lowest capacity for the format – 64GB – contrasts with the capacity of the first card ? 8MB. The new card type promises a much faster data transfer both to and from the card of up to 104MB per second, as well as greater reliability. Standards for SDXC were still being discussed during meetings at CES, but Toshiba expects its first 64GB card to be available within the next couple of months at a cost of about $500. Panasonic will launch a 48GB version (any capacity above the SDHC maximum capacity of 32GB uses the SDXC standard). It is expected that both cards will be marketed to professional video makers in the first instance. Very few still camera makers have compatible products.

Mr Nakano explained that the most popular card capacity of last year was 2GB, accounting for half of card sales. The most popular capacity shifts up one level each year, with 4GB set to be the best selling of 2010.

Nakano explained that although Sony has only just adopted the SD format the company has been a member of the SD Association for some time.

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