Starting next month, users of Android smartphones and tablets will be able to give a 512 GB memory boost to their devices, thanks to a new microSD card coming out from Integral Memory. The U.K.-based company was also the first to market with a 256 GB microSD card two years ago.
The company did not provide pricing for the UHS-I class card, which has a transfer speed of up to 80 MB per second and supports the V10 video speed class standard with a write speed of at least 10 MB per second. Integral's 256 GB version of the card is currently priced at around $182 on Amazon's U.K. Web site.
The new microSD card, which will come with a five-year warranty, is aimed at mobile device users who want enough local memory for capturing and storing photos and Full HD videos, and for using photo- and video-based apps, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Netflix, according to Integral.
Photo, Video Apps Driving Demand
The new 512 GB card from Integral beats the previous record-holder on the market: a 400 GB SanDisk microSD released by Western Digital in August. The SanDisk card is currently priced in the $240 to $250 range on various sites. In 2016, Western Digital unveiled a prototype 1 TB SD card, although that level of mobile storage is not yet commercially available.
Like SanDisk's microSD, the new card from Integral targets customers who handle a wide variety of memory-intensive tasks on their smartphones and tablets.
"Developments in cloud-based storage solutions have raised questions about the future role of memory cards, yet consumer lifestyles have embraced the microSD memory card format more than ever," the company said in an announcement yesterday. "The ability for users to self-upgrade in seconds through their microSD slot, rather than bearing the expense of a new phone or tablet is desirable."
In addition to the popularity of photo- and video-based apps, another driver of demand for mobile storage is the growing use of video through drones, home security cameras, dashcams and other devices, Integral said.
SD Card Market Keeps Growing
"Current capacities for microSD memory cards range from 1 GB to 512 GB, depending on the manufacturer, and with technologies continuing to advance, it won't be long before there is a 1 TB card on the market," Brian Kumagai, president of the SD Association, a memory trade group, wrote last year in "The State of the microSD Memory Card in 2017."
"Despite the massive storage capacities available today, they won't be enough to deal with the explosion of higher-resolution video and photos, not to mention the sheer numbers of photos taken every year," he said. Kumagai cited an InfoTrends forecast that predicted 1.2 trillion photos would be taken in 2017.
"The inclusion of memory card slots in smartphones has never been stronger," Stuart Robinson, director of the handset component technologies program at Strategy Analytics, noted last year.
In a forecast released in August, Strategy Analytics predicted annual sales of smartphone memory cards would be approaching 800 million by 2021, compared to over 700 million in 2017. That market would include cards in the 512 GB to 1023 GB range, although the most popular capacities would be in the 64 GB to 256 GB range, according to Strategy Analytics.