No SD Slot Peripherals Until Fall

One of the most anticipated features of the upcoming m500 series is its ability to use very small peripherals that plug into the Secure Digital (SD) slot. However, while Palm has already announced the m500 series, no companies have stepped forward to talk about their SD slot peripherals besides memory cards. This is because the SD Card Association has not yet finalized all the standards necessary for items like modems and digital cameras to use the slot, which could delay the release of SD slot peripherals until possibly this fall.

The sticking point is a specification for handling input and output to the peripherals. According to a press release from the SD Card Assoc., the I/O technical working group has submitted the specification to the General Membership for final approval that is expected to be complete sometime this month.

"The specification will enable the SD Card slot to become a multi-purpose expansion port for a variety of new capabilities such as Bluetooth, GPS, Imaging and Communication," stated Bill Stanley, Principal Engineer for Palm Inc. and Co-Chairman of the I/O working group. "This will extend the capabilities of any SD enabled device."

Palm has been showing an array of mock-ups of SD slot peripherals for months but all appear to be non-functional and none of them has even a projected release date or price. PCWeek predicts that none will appear "at least until the fall".

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Although this is bad news...

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/5/2001 8:51:16 AM # is NOT unexpected. Palm announced the m50x series almost three weeks ago and I don't know anyone who has one yet. I placed two orders for the m505 the day it was announced and outpost and egghead still don't know when they'll recieive them.

Did we really expect the SD Peripherals to be available anytime soon? We knew the mock-ups were just that- fake. We also have to realize that it will take time. Handspring went months without any significant Springboards and now there are almost fifty. The New York Times Circuits section for today has a significant article (page 7) on these modules and new m50x series users should expect similiar developments down the road. In addition, with many companies embracing SD as a means of expansion, 5-6 months down the road we MAY have more options than Handspring- and certainly less bulky.

RE: Although this is bad news...
superbenk @ 4/5/2001 12:24:40 PM #
One also has to argue that while it's inconvenient, it certainly is better to have a solid standard rather than rushed products that become obsolete due to standard variations the day they come out. That results in patch after patch after patch, or worse... a completely useless product. I don't think this news is all that unreasonable at all. In fact, it's kind of comforting to hear something being thought out BEFORE being shipped!

RE: Although this is bad news...
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/5/2001 2:34:37 PM #
I'm mostly interested in the expansion that Palm has already announced, memory and backup. That's all I use with my Visor currently (I also use a vibrating alarm, but that's built into the m50x series).

I think that if you're really into expansion, you should be looking at a Visor Platinum.

May not be able to use SD, but MMC is a possibility

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/5/2001 4:42:38 PM #
You may not be able to use SD devices right away. However, you may be able to use MMC devices. I've only seen MMC flash memory on the market (up to 64 mb for about $100). MMC is the same size as SD and should be swappable. SD merely has extra (and annoying) security features.

RE: May not be able to use SD, but MMC is a possibility
Ed @ 4/5/2001 6:07:43 PM #
Memory cards aren't the issue here. There are already plenty of SD memory cards on the market. What we're talking about is the other peripherals like GPS modules and modems.

While it is true that versions of these will be available using the Universal Connector, the SD slot ones should be much smaller and portable. They also might be much more expensive, too.In electronics, smaller almost always means more money.

Palm Infocenter

RE: May not be able to use SD, but MMC is a possibility
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/5/2001 11:06:58 PM #
You read it from Ed... he's suggesting using MMC IO cards instead of SD IO cards. He wasn't suggesting using sleds instead of SD.

Mind you, I haven't seen any MMC IO cards either - and their smaller form-factor (they are thinner than SD) would impose even tougher restrictions on hardware engineers to squeeze circuitry into them...

But on the upside - I do know that a number of companies are working on SD IO cards - don't worry guys, they'll be here soon enough... :-)

RE: May not be able to use SD, but MMC is a possibility
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/5/2001 11:38:19 PM #
I hadn't noticed that MMC is actually thinner than SD. It is 1.4 vs. 2.1 mm. How can both be used in the same slot if one is a third thicker?

Also, I read just about everything I could find on the MMCbehindociations site at and I didn't see anything about MMC gadgets besides memory cards. Are you guys sure people are actually developing them? Or just guessing?

RE: May not be able to use SD, but MMC is a possibility
GrouchoMarx @ 4/6/2001 3:30:37 AM #
SD is MMC, with a slightly thicker body but the same physical connector. Just as CompactFlash II is physically the same as CompactFlash I, but with a slightly thicker body. That's how the TRGpro is able to support both CF I and CF II cards. Any (well-designed) CF II slot can take CF I cards without blinking, and any (well-designed) SD slot should be able to take MMC cards without blinking.

SD is simply MMC II, with RIAA-designed copy prevention features built-in. (Features that have already been broken, and have been shown to make devices almost unusable, but I digress.) SDIO is the interesting part, and that's due Real Soon Now(tm).

Meanwhile, CF I and CF II are established I/O standards, with memory and device cards already on the market, with good expandability and HUGE memory capacity (1 GB CF II card, on the market today). The only disadvantage is that it's the size of a thick quarter not a thick dime. On boohoo, that's how they fit all of that power into it. Oh, and CF is an industry standard that is actually STANDARD, not just talked about. </rant>


RE: May not be able to use SD, but MMC is a possibility
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/6/2001 2:02:48 PM #
I hate to be completely ignorant but what exactly is I/O anyway (as in SDIO)? I hear everybody talking about it but I don't know what it means. Someone please clue in this poor lost soul.

RE: May not be able to use SD, but MMC is a possibility
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/6/2001 5:49:39 PM #
Input / Output

I can't wait for that little SD Modem!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/14/2001 8:16:41 AM #
I hope they can make that puppy as small as the fake mock-up! And I hope it is power-efficient.

I get ERRORS when trying to sync large files to SD Card.

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/14/2001 8:28:12 PM #
I tried to sync a large .mov files as well as a 600k+ size game. Anyone else have this problem?



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