SanDisk 6GB microSD Card

6gb microsd cardThe PalmInfocenter store is now carrying a 6GB microSDHC card from SanDisk. The card comes with a full sized SD card adapter to fit into devices with a standard SD slot and a USB 2.0 card reader for your computer. The microSD card is currently compatible with the Palm Centro and Treo 500.

The 6GB microSD card is available for $99.95, with a 4GB available for $74.95 and 2GB for $39.95.

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Perhaps a reword needed here?

WareW01f @ 12/20/2007 11:40:37 PM # Q
Read them and weep.

The Centro and all the rest of the Garnet devices, can not and will not read anything over 4GB. We need to deal with this and move on. :D

RE: Perhaps a reword needed here?
freakout @ 12/21/2007 2:38:56 AM # Q
680 reads my Adata 8GB SD card just fine. They might not officially support higher-capacity cards, but many will still work. Not sure if this is true of the Centro or not, though.
RE: Perhaps a reword needed here?
SeldomVisitor @ 12/21/2007 6:24:33 AM # Q
See my comment below.

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Chewieez @ 12/21/2007 3:09:42 AM # Q
Um, you might want to do some research first, before you make such blanket statements.

I'm using a 6gb Sandisk card in my Centro and it's working fine. Just because the word from Palm is, "We haven't tested this with anything above 4gb, doesn't mean it doesn't and will never work."

Oh also, You can buy a 6 gb Sandisk card on for $65-70 ... much cheaper than $99.

RE: huh?
SeldomVisitor @ 12/21/2007 6:24:00 AM # Q
Hmmm...I wonder why PALM engineers/marketing would say above 4GB not supported if it "works".

Could it be the address space? You know - 32 bits is it?

In the deep distant past I used a software something on a CP/M machine called QEMM. It allowed more than a 16-bit address space to be addressed.

Perhaps that type of software is necessary to get to more than 32 bits and most applications/PalmOS APIs don't work well with that type of software?

Or could there be a more sinister hardware problem with more than 32 bits of address space? Like when you try to get to that location of (32bits-worth + 1) you actually wrap around to the beginning again?

The latter is fairly well testable if you can normally access individual bytes/words in one of those things - just write a value above the 32 bit address limit, then read its "wrapped equivalent" down inside the 32 bit address space and see if the value it there instead of where it's supposed to be.

Sticking a too-big chunk of memory into a box often is not a problem - all APPEARS to work fine, hardware-wise and sometimes software-wise. But maybe it isn't really working. Or not working all the time (which is even worse, of course).

But PALM probably knows what they're talking about when they say "Uh uh", huh?

RE: huh?
WareW01f @ 12/21/2007 9:59:08 AM # Q

Um, you might want to do some research first, before you make such blanket statements.

You mean like develop for the platform?

From VFSMgr.h in Garnet:

long VFSVolumeSize (WORD volRefNum, UINT32 *pui32UsedSize, UINT32 *pui32TotalCapacity)

Last I checked, 32 bits only got you 4GB. Now if Palm where to hack the lower level to make the card show as *2* cards, you'd be set.

Please go back and actually *fill* your 6GB and access them with your device before you tell me it works.

Blanket indeed.

RE: huh?
SeldomVisitor @ 12/21/2007 10:10:21 AM # Q
Tenkuveddymuch! Confirmed my based-in-antiquity-experience guess.
RE: huh?
hkklife @ 12/21/2007 11:17:39 AM # Q
From my experiences with using an 8gb SDHC card with my 700p, the Treo/Garnet "sees" the first 4gb by default due to the 32-bit addressng limitation. Then once you start to fill it up past that, things start to get funny. The Card Info app sees things different than some apps do and it makes trying to keep up with what files are on the card a general mess. I seem to recall CorePlayer in particular not being able to find or let me open files I KNEW were on the card! Basically, if you've got a 6gb or 8gb card, you need to either have <4gb filled or a lot more than 4gb filled. Otherwise, if you're right there on the edge, you'll be just as confused as Garnet ends up being. I quickly gave up trying to manage with my 8gb SDHC card in my 700p (stuck it in my digicam where it's totally happy) and just went back to two separate SD cards (a 4gb & a 2gb) instead.

This is a long-standing issue with POS that I was afraid was coming (no, I'm not a programmer, just had a bad feeling when Palm was slow to get on the FAT32 bandwagon). IMO, this issue is ENTIRELY the reason that Palm regressed from fullsize SD/SDHC to miniSD to microSD. They're trying to coast along until Plinux in 2009 by continually regressing to costlier, smaller capacity memory card formats to try and hide/mask the deficiencies of FrankenGarnet. This is also one of the reasons that we never saw the 8gb LifeDrive (or a flash-based variant) that Brighthand et al. practically assured us was in the works back in '05.

Our BEST hope would be for Palm to 'fess up to this limitation ASAP and release a Treo with a 4gb internal flash volume (ala LD & T5) alongside the SDHC slot. This would let users pretty easily have 8gigs of stuff onboard without having to worry about any potential headaches or unseen files.

P.S. Am I correct in my assumption that none of Palm's WM-powered lineup is officially SDHC/>4gb volume aware? Is this a hardware limitation or what? I know WM isn't limited to <4gb volumes so is this a specific Palm problem?

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: huh?
SeldomVisitor @ 12/21/2007 11:33:44 AM # Q
The 4GB limit is absolute if the quoted C code above is the code used to access the space.

There is no funniness - there is simply "brokeness".

That is, any attempts to access GREATER than 32bits-worth-of-address will WRAP AROUND THROUGH ZERO again, causing overwrites of something very LOW in the space than something beyond the end of the space.

Here's a 3-bit example of wrap - you can extrapolate it to 32 bits yerself:

000 <== Wrap around back to zero

Now try to address 4-bits worth instead when you only HAVE 3-bits to do it with:

0 000
0 001
0 010
0 011
0 100
0 101
0 110
0 111
1 000 <== Wrap around back to zero and ignore that high-order bit
1 001

Note that the 3-bit value has wrapped back around.

BTW - this example assumes there is no funniness with how that wrapping takes place. Since trying to fit MORE than 32 bits INTO 32 bits is broken, it might NOT break so nicely as simply dropping the high-order bits and wrapping - it could get nastier by USING =only= the high order bits like, say:

000 0
000 1
001 0
001 1
010 0
010 1
011 0
011 1
100 0
100 1
101 0
101 1


RE: huh?
theseus @ 12/21/2007 3:19:22 PM # Q
There are only 10 kinds of people in the world: those that read binary and those that don't. ;)


RE: huh?
nitf @ 12/21/2007 3:29:18 PM # Q
"IMO, this issue is ENTIRELY the reason that Palm regressed from fullsize SD/SDHC to miniSD to microSD."

This is possible but very unlikely, most likely they are switching formats because everyone is. You don't see any new devices with Compact Flash anymore for the same reason, the new formats require a smaller connector. The board area savings and BOM cost between the two sockets are substantial (SD push/push top mount = $2.49, microsd push/push = $1.67) and last time we had an issue and asked a manufacturer to add a single 0402 resitor which costs ~$0.005 in bulk they complained loudly.

RE: huh?
hkklife @ 12/21/2007 4:07:05 PM # Q
Thanks for the "industry insight". I had no idea that the cost differences were so considerable between the "old" SD and the "new" tiny formats.

But, at the same time, not even the lowest of the low end Chinese digital camera manufacturers aren't abandoning SD/SDHC en masse!?!?! And one is still hard pressed to find a ton of laptops/desktops/printers/internal card readers that natively accept mini & microSD formats (as well as MS Duo etc).

I still stand by my theory that Palm will keep retreating to the safely of <4gb card volumes. IF they can save a few pennies when specifying their devicves to the ODMs then all the better!

I just know that I find SDHC the perfect format from a size/performance/cost/capacity/compatibility standpoint. I hate niche formats like SmartMedia/xD and the mostly-proprietary Memory Stick flavors. CF was nice for a good decade +/- but it's just a tad too big. SD is ideal for 90% of devies (most everything larger than a dumbphone). I hate all of the formats that are tiny in both capacity and in physical size. At most, we should have only microSD & fullsize SD. MiniSD was completely unnecessary (thanks, Sandisk!) and Palm should be have completely overlooked it on the 750 & 755p.

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: huh?
nitf @ 12/22/2007 4:46:22 PM # Q
Cost is a huge issue with handset manufacturers and second is board real estate, so the switch to microSD is an inevitable one because they are under the most stress to meet requirements with the least amount of control over the pieces. Even the HTC Mogul and Tilt which are pretty big devices use microSD. Palm has to buy an apps processor from Marvell, a modem from Qualcomm, memory from Micron and then tie them together in an ever decreasing volume and meet restrictions from the FCC and the various carriers before they can make any money on their work. I know I wouldn't want that

The folks making cameras and laptops have a lot more freedom when it comes to design and because you can always get an adapter to make a micro/mini SD fit into a full size slot they are smart to go with the full size format and leave their options open. Palm stuck with SD until they started making smaller devices mini in 755p and micro in Centro, nothing sinister about that at all. But we can agree to disagree on that point.

RE: huh?
hkklife @ 12/22/2007 5:59:11 PM # Q
Still......Palm teased me mightily with the 680 (antenna-less & smaller than the previous 700-series) with its fullsize SDHC slot so I was hoping for just ONE more antenna-less Palm OS Treo so I could keep using my pile of fullsize SD/SDHC cards here. Oh well.

Thanks for all of the input/industry info. If Palm had to "go small" I still wish they'd have gone straight to microSD from fullsizse SD. I'm worried now that I if I upgrade to the 755p in '08 I'll have to go microSD on the next device. You're right, adapters are the best solution here: probably wiser to just buy a microSDHC card now and use it w/ a miniSD adapter in the 755p.

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: huh?
nitf @ 12/22/2007 8:41:40 PM # Q
I think they still had room in the 680 and had full size SD socket inventory so sticking with it probably made sense at the time. If you take a look at the 680 photos you can see how big that socket is compared to Centro's microSD.

Another factor could have been that the 680 was not CDMA and prior to Qualcomm's QSC line of chips the device count needed to support the modem was much higher for CDMA than on GSM. Hopefully the new CDMA Palm devices will be moving to QSC6065, fewer chips and better power consumption over the current crop of MSM6500 plus RevA.

joad @ 12/23/2007 9:21:44 PM # Q
One dirty little secret about these so-called "adapters" are that they are often flimsy and will easily break after just a few uses. Probably when you are FAR away from your computer and/or some tape to kludge them.

The MiniSD adapter is especially dangerous - the difference in size between the MiniSD and the SD card is pretty negligible. That means there isn't a lot of "meat" to encapsulate the card strongly - basically they are extremely vulnerable to falling apart if you expect to actually USE them in your applications meant for SD cards. Companies like "Transcend" compound the problem by building them out of paper-thin cheap plastic, and you can bet they'll void your "lifetime" warranty as soon as their sub par adapter breaks.

An adapter is still an "ADAPTER" and due to a bad design and cost-cutting by manufacturers these are _not_ an adequate substitution for the proper card size. Sharing cards between my Treo 755 and my digital camera has become an expensive and risky process, and in my opinion Palm should have concentrated on sticking with the card that works in many laptops, most consumer cameras, and every Palm and Handera and Pocket PC built since 1999 or so: Secure Digital (with only the addition of SDHC drivers). But I guess when Palm keeps rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic then screwing up the standard flash formats might win you a promotion there.

**Another vote for a >100MB RAM Treo**

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