August 25, 1999

Panasonic, SanDisk and Toshiba Agreement


SD Memory Card
Photo (c) Sandisk

Matsushita Electric Industrial, best known by its Panasonic brand name, SanDisk and Toshiba have reached an agreement on comprehensive collaboration to jointly develop, specify and widely promote a next generation secure memory card. The announcement was made at joint press conferences in Tokyo, Japan, Osaka, Japan and Redwood City, CA.
The global market is growing rapidly for flash-memory based removable storage cards. These cards provide a compact, reliable, and easy-to-use medium to store high volumes of visual, audio and other data for digital music players and cameras, personal digital assistants (PDAs), video cameras, cellular phones and other digital consumer electronics products. Several major formats including SmartMedia, CompactFlash and MultiMediaCard are gaining solid support as leading media to meet these requirements. In addition to these segments, recent years have seen an increased need for methods to improve copyright protection for artists and other content owners and provide greater data security for users.
The agreement announced today is aimed to jointly develop a small size, high speed read/write next generation memory card capable of providing a high level of copy protection for music, movies and other artistic and commercial content. Each company will aggressively promote development of application products for this card.
The agreement is as follows
  • The three companies will collaborate to develop the next generation SD Memory Card, and promote the card to make it widely used in the industry through standardization.
  • The three companies will promote to develop application products in the field of digital AV equipment and digital network equipment using the SD Memory Card.
  • The three companies will develop products taking into consideration the copyrights of software creators and content providers.
  • The three companies will establish a licensing entity which will widely license the SD Memory Card. Both SD Memory Card manufacturers, and equipment producers who manufacture end-user products such as Internet music players and cellular phones, will be required to obtain licenses from the licensing entity.
Outline of the SD Memory Card
  • Size: 24mm x 32mm x 2.1mm 9 pins
  • Capacity: 32MB, 64MB (2000) / 256MB (2001)
  • Speed: 10MB/sec / 2MB/sec (2000)
  • Features: Powerful security and copy protection (SDMI compliant)
Sampling of the new SD Memory Card will begin in the first quarter of 2000. Production shipments are expected to commence in the second quarter of 2000. It is expected that application products that use the new card will be available in the first half of next year.
Features and advantages of the SD Memory Card include
  • Unique and proprietary security functions are included in the card's controller, which facilitate the secure exchange of content between host devices and the card. The security level has been designed to comply with both current and future SDMI (Secure Digital Music Initiative) portable device requirements.
  • Several flash memory chips can be stacked in the SD Memory Card which will provide higher capacity cards. This will ensure that the cards are capable of storing, for example, full-length movies in video and playback systems in the future.
  • Despite the highly desirable small number of pins, the SD Memory Card is designed for exceptionally high read/write performance.
  • A mechanical write protect switch prevents consumers from accidentally overwriting the card and destroying data, images or audio.
  • The SD Memory Card has been ergonomically and electrically improved for its target consumer markets.
  • The new SD Memory Card slots will also accept existing MultiMediaCards.
The three companies expect that CompactFlash (CF), SmartMedia memory cards and MultiMediaCards will continue their popularity in the current applications that only require relatively lower levels of security.
"Matsushita Electric and the Panasonic companies are delighted to be a partner in this effort to develop a technology that adds new value and features to the products consumers will use in the home, the workplace and everywhere in between," said Mr.Yoichi Morishita, president of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. "With the progress of recent digital network technology we are confident that the SD Memory Card will become a virtual standard for digital consumer electronics as well as for PC's. With this in mind, we intend to develop and build a new generation of digital consumer electronics devices such as Internet music players, digital camcorders and cellular phones which will employ SD Memory Cards"
Eli Harari, CEO and president of SanDisk, said, "We are greatly honored to be partners in this very important cooperation with two of the world's leading global corporations in consumer electronics. The sophisticated security of the SD Memory Card will unleash numerous exciting new consumer products and enable mass distribution of copyrighted content as well as e-commerce in a variety of multimedia and wireless/internet applications. The SD Memory Card provides an easy migration path for users of the highly successful MultiMediaCard for new applications requiring a high level of copyright protection and data security."
Taizo Nishimuro, Toshiba president and CEO, said, "Toshiba is unfolding a comprehensive strategy to promote removable memory cards, Toshiba's original NAND flash memory chips, and products and systems using the media. We welcome this opportunity to collaborate with Matsushita and SanDisk on the development and promotion of a new medium offering high-level security functions, an emerging but increasingly important element in the burgeoning market for silicon media. Toshiba is the leading supplier of SmartMedia, already established as a de facto standard in digital silicon storage and the SD Card will be a strong addition to our product portfolio, allowing us to expand our new business opportunities."
http://www.panasonic.com/
http://www.sandisk.com/
http://www.toshiba.com/

August 11, 1999

Yashica Kyocera Samourai 2100DG

Yashica Announces the Kyocera Samurai 2100DG, World's First 2 Mega-Pixel Digital Camera With 4x Optical Zoom

Yashica's new Samurai 2100DG digital camera is the world’s first high-quality, 2-million-pixel class digital camera to feature a 4X optical zoom lens. The Kyocera Samurai 2100DG takes crisp, sharp images that rival the quality of conventional photographs while offering all of the conveniences of an advanced digital device. The camera boasts a full line-up of functions, including automatic exposure control, automatic white balancing, various shooting modes and versatile playback functions. All settings are fully automatic for the ultimate in picture-taking ease.

The ergonomic shape of the Kyocera Samourai 2100DG allows the user to enclose the body of the camera with their hand, making the camera easier to hold and offering enhanced stability that reduces the possibility of blurring due to accidental shaking of the camera. All of the essential controls, including the shutter button, zoom control, and selectors for photography mode and image quality, can be operated easily while holding the camera and using only the right hand.

The key to the superior image quality of the Kyocera Samurai 2100DG is its Charge Coupled Device (CCD). The high-definition 2.14 million pixel CCD, the image capture element for the 2100DG, is coupled with a high-resolution zoom lens that has a center resolution of over 200 lines/mm. The result is imaging quality that is on par with that of photographs taken with conventional 35mm film cameras.

The lens supports a wide range of focal lengths from a 6.6mm wide-angle through a 26.4mm telephoto (equal to 35mm to 140mm in a 35mm camera) allowing the photographer to shoot a wide array of subjects including landscapes, group photos, and portrait photos. In addition, the 4x optical zoom capability can be combined with a 4x digital zoom function when displaying images, resulting in a maximum zoom magnification of 16x (super fine or fine image quality mode, display only).

"We are extremely proud and excited to have the world's first digital camera with 4x optical zoom, as it offers a significantly better image quality than cameras that only have digital zoom," said Kyocera Optics, Inc. President, Bill Heuer. He went on to say, "While a digital zoom merely enlarges and crops the picture, thus degrading the image, the optical zoom works like a high quality lens on a traditional film camera. With the 2100DG, our customers are not only getting the finest in Yashica lenses, but Kyocera's expertise in electronics as well."

In addition to a conventional video feedback auto-focus function that relies on the CCD, the Kyocera Samurai 2100DG is also equipped with a newly developed focusing system employing an infrared active auto-focus function. Combined, these two systems result in focusing performance that is both quick and accurate. All lenses are made of optical-quality glass.

The Kyocera Samurai 2100DG has been developed with a large memory capacity, and its image processing speed has been increased substantially over prior models to allow for faster storing and displaying of images. The wait time between shots has been reduced to about one second in the fastest mode -- significantly faster than with older digital cameras. This extra speed increases the opportunities for capturing great shots and reduces the chance of missing a shot when your camera is not ready. Using the included 8MB CompactFlash card, the user can store 84 exposures in normal mode, 20 in Fine mode, and six in Super Fine mode.

The Kyocera Samurai 2100DG has both a built-in optical real image zoom viewfinder and a 1.8" color LCD monitor. The optical viewfinder zooms along with the lens to provide concise, accurate framing. After taking a picture, you can quickly and easily view the image on the built-in 1.8", high contrast, high definition TFT LCD monitor. Additionally, you can playback images on the LCD in several different ways: single-image advance, automatic advance, quick thumbnail display, multi-image display, and rotate. Images can also be zoomed in on the LCD while in the playback mode, a great way of proofing your pictures or checking for small details.

The LCD monitor is also an ideal way to compose any Macro photos. In addition to the macro mode, which allows close-ups of objects as close as 3.9" from the lens (so you can fill the screen with an image of something as small as a business card), the Samurai 2100DG features a wide array of photography functions. The camera has four flash modes (automatic flash, automatic red-eye reduction flash, fill-flash, and flash-off), a landscape mode, two monochrome photography modes (sepia and black-and-white), and three white balance settings (auto, daylight, and tungsten lamp).

The Kyocera Samourai 2100DG also offers, what has become to many, a necessary security feature. When hooked up to a monitor or VCR, the camera doubles as security camera, allowing the user to tape, or monitor in real-time, actions taking place outside of their vantage point. While the 2100DG will not record sound, the images alone can be enough to give the security-conscious consumer peace of mind.

The Kyocera Samurai 2100DG includes an environmentally friendly, rechargeable, lithium-ion battery and charger. Approximately 200 shots, using the flash 50% of the time, can be taken with the battery. An AC Adapter is also included. As a bonus, each Samurai 2100DG comes with a special offer for a free one-year premium account on PhotoLoft.com. Through the use of the PhotoLoft.com coupon, Yashica customers can use advanced viewing technology to zoom in on or pan their images, as well as print photo-finish quality images at standard photographic sizes, ranging from wallet to 8"x10". PhotoLoft.com is the fastest growing photo-sharing community on the Internet that allows users to view, share and print photo-finish quality images.

Additional information can be obtained through the Yashica Web site: www.yashica.com