The company has released the first 32GB removable card for phones. That means any phone with a memory card slot can now have the same capacity as the most expensive smartphones (with built-in storage). It also means that many, and likely most, handset owners could now carry about their entire music collections on their phone.
The major drawback at this stage is that the card costs $200. Given that 16GB cards on the market today have a list price of around $50 (and actually retail at closer to $30), that makes the new release roughly twice the price per gigabyte.
It’s not just a case of the cards being comparatively pure value however: the raw price is also likely to offput many. While $30 is a relatively affordable upgrade for anyone wanting to add more content to their handset, somebody who’d been willing to splash out $200 is probably more likely to consider simply getting a more expensive phone with on-board storage in the first place.
That doesn’t mean the pricing is a bad idea, though. Indeed, it’s a classic early adopter strategy. With the market likely quite limited, SanDisk and retailers may as well get $200 now from the people who are willing to pay, then drop the price once that well is dry.
The real market may not even be consumers. Handset manufacturers will presumably be able to get bulk discounts, at which point they have an economical way to take existing phones and sell them as high-capacity models.
The new disk may not be the latest hot thing for long however. Both SanDisk and Toshiba are already making plans for a 64GB card, with a 2011 release possible.