Sandisk launches combo Wi-Fi, memory SD card

SanDisk Corp. will begin shipping by the end of June a SD (Secure Digital) card that combines 256M bytes of memory and a wireless LAN adapter, the company said Monday.

The card is designed for users of personal digital assistants (PDAs) and could be especially handy for those who currently use a SD-based wireless LAN card to access the Internet. In such a situation the user is restricted to downloading only as much data as there is space in the PDA's memory because the data has to be held there temporarily before the wireless LAN card can be unplugged and a memory card inserted. SanDisk's new card allows data to be stored directly into the card's memory without first storing it in the PDA.

Initially it will ship with drivers for several Microsoft Corp. operating systems, including Pocket PC 2002, Pocket PC 2003 and Windows Mobile 2003, and support WEP (Wireless Equivalent Privacy), 802.1x, PSK (Phase-shift keying) and WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) on the Windows CE platforms, the company said. Devices are also required to have an SDIO-compatible slot. There is no support for Palm OS or other operating systems at present.

The card was originally announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in early 2003 and at the time SanDisk said it would be released around the middle of 2003.

"We had planned to have this out a long time before but because of a variety of technical and business issues with companies that we were working with it was delayed," said Bob Goligoski, a spokesman for SanDisk.

The delay has brought one advantage for potential users. Last year the company estimated the card would cost around US$150 but SanDisk said Monday it had set a suggested retail price of $129.

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