Matsushita Electric, SanDisk and Toshiba to form SD Memory Card Association to promote next generation SD memory card

More than 100 Market-Leading Companies Expected to Join the Association to Enable New Digital Consumer Products and Internet Applications.

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (NYSE:MC), best known by its Panasonic brand name, SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK) and Toshiba Corporation announced today that a new industry-wide association will be created to set industry standards for the SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card and promote its wide acceptance in digital applications. The announcement was made at a press conference at the CES trade show.

The new organization, named the Secure Digital Association (SDA), will be headquartered in California and its executive membership will include some 30 world-leading high-tech companies and also major content companies. Initial SDA membership is expected to include approximately 100 companies from around the world covering diverse industries including consumer electronics, information processing, telecommunications, entertainment and software.

Thus far, 69 companies have stated they plan to join the SDA as members. The companies that plan to join the association as executive members are: Alpine Electronics Inc., ARM Inc., Audible Inc., Canon Inc., Casio Computer Co. Ltd., Compaq Computer Corp., Diamond Multimedia/S3, Eastman Kodak Co., EMI, Hewlett Packard Co., IBM Corp., Kenwood Corp., LG Electronics Inc., Liquid Audio Inc., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., Microsoft Corp., Micronas Intermetall GmbH, Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Motorola, NEC Corp. (Cellular Phone), Onkyo Corp., QUALCOMM, RealNetworks Inc., Samsung Electronics Corp. Ltd., SanDisk Corp., Sharp Corp., Socket Communications Inc., Symbian Ltd., TDK Corp., Toyota Motor Corp., Toshiba Corp., Universal Music Group and Victor Co. of Japan Ltd.. SDA board members will be determined at a later date.

The companies planning to join the SDA as general members are: Alps Electric Co. Ltd., Altec Computersysteme GmbH Ltd., AVX Corp., Clarion Co. Ltd., e.Digital Corp., Eiger Labs Inc., FCI Japan Co. Ltd., Hirose Electric Co. Ltd., Hitachi Maxell Ltd., Honda Tsushin Kogyo Co. Ltd., Hosiden Corp., Innogear Inc., InterTrust Technologies Corp., Iriso Electronics Co. Ltd.,< Japan Aviation Electronics Industry, Ltd., J.S.T.NFG. Co. Ltd., Kyocera Elco Corp., LinkUp Systems Corp., MediaQ Inc., Molex Inc., Molex Japan Co. Ltd., Next Audio Inc., Onkyo Corp., Pontis, RioPort.Com, SCM Microsystems Inc., Silicon Storage Technology Inc., SmartDisk Corp., Taiko Denki Co. Ltd., Texas Instruments, Tokyo Electron Co. Ltd., Tomita Traders Co. Ltd., TYCO Electronics EC, Yamaichi Electronics Co. Ltd., Yokowo Co. Ltd., and Zoran Corp.

The first general meeting of the association is tentatively scheduled for the end of January, 2000. The association aims to establish technical and specification standards for the SD Memory Card applications, promote the next generation memory card to make it widely used in the industry through standardization, and encourage development of products in the field of digital A/V equipment and digital information network equipment.

Last August, Matsushita, SanDisk and Toshiba announced agreement on a comprehensive collaboration to jointly develop, specify and widely promote a next generation secure memory card called the SD Memory Card. With a physical profile of 24 millimeters (mm) x 32mm x 2.1mm, which is as tiny as a postage stamp, the new card will provide both an SDMI-compliant (Secure Digital Music Initiative), high-level of copyright protection and high-density memory capacity. The three companies have worked closely with a variety of interested parties to encourage participation in the card standard and have generated extremely strong support from key industry companies.

"Matsushita Electric believes that the SD Memory Card is a vital link to the digital future," said Yoichi Morishita, president of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. "The establishment of the SD Association with membership drawn from some of the world's leading technology and music major step toward the goal of making SD a de-facto storage standard. With this vision in mind, we expect to develop and produce a wide range of SD Memory Card-based Panasonic products, including not only audio, video, mobile communications and PC applications but also information appliance products. When we have a single compatible memory card that can be used in products from PCs to Internet music players, the biggest beneficiary will be the consumer."

Eli Harari, CEO and president of SanDisk, said, "The tremendous interest in the SD Memory Card by such a broad base of global corporations in the its introduction is completely without precedent. We believe that the formation of the SDA as a standards organization open to all, will further accelerate acceptance of the SD Memory Card as the universal storage media for portable, wireless and Internet market applications. Already there are more than 50 companies that have stated they plan to join the SDA, including the leading manufacturers and content providers in consumer audio/video, digital imaging, Internet, communications and wireless, personal computers and PDAs, automotive, and other key markets in the information age. This success is a testimony to the strong cooperation established between Matsushita, Toshiba and SanDisk as the founding members of the SDA. We at SanDisk are honored to be a part of this effort and are committed to establishing the SD Memory Card as the global, universal storage card for the consumer/wireless/Internet era."

Taizo Nishimuro, CEO and president of Toshiba Corporation, said, "We are delighted to launch the Secure Digital Association, and pleased to see the backing this leading-edge memory card has already won from so many companies around the world. I am sure this unprecedented degree of support reflects the high level of copyright protection and data security functions that we have built into the SD Card, and points the way to the success of this highly reliable removable memory device. At Toshiba, the inventor and prime supplier of NAND flash memory for SD Memory Cards, we will accelerate and expand our memory card business through the development and commercialization of state-of-the-art digital electronics products and systems fully utilizing our capabilities in portable and mobile equipment."

Xavier Pucel, manager of semiconductor research at International Data Corp., said, "For at least the next five years, Internet music players and smart handheld devices will be the top contributors to the growth of the flash card market. By nature, these devices will favor small form factors, low power consumption and some level of copyright protection/security. The Secure Digital Memory Card meets these requirements. All in all, the SD card is well positioned to take advantage of the upcoming 'anywhere, anytime' Internet wave."

Jesse Huffman, senior analyst at In-Stat Group, said, "The formation of the SD Association validates the need for the copyright protection of digital content. With support from industry leaders, especially from high-quality content providers, the SD Memory Card format will become the industry standard for removable digital storage. By building upon the success of the MultiMediaCard format, the new SD will enjoy an established client base and worldwide distribution channels. The new association is a smart move."

"Symbian is working with Toshiba, Matsushita, SanDisk and other board members to set standards and promote the SD Memory Card as the de facto memory card for digital devices," commented Juha Christensen, Executive Vice President, Symbian. "Setting these standards and ensuring interoperability for content storage is an important element in the wireless value chain - enabling simple and secure storage of feature rich applications and data."


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