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back to article Sandisk breaks 128GB barrier with new $199 MICROSD card

Ten years ago SanDisk showed off its first microSD card with what was then an impressive 128MB storage. Now the company has unveiled a 128GB model, specially designed for use in Android smartphones. "The new SanDisk Ultra microSDXC card again demonstrates how SanDisk continues to expand the possibilities of storage so that …

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compatibility

What's the compatibility look like for existing phones? Or will this only work in newer(yet to be released) phones. Samsung Note 3 for example uses SDXC but specifically mentions limit of 64GB. Not sure if that is just because that was(assuming it was) the largest available at the time or what.

It looks like the SDXC spec supports up to 2TB so hopefully it'll work with the Note 3 at least..

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Re: compatibility

I crammed a 64gb (PNY) card into my by-standards ancient (read: 2 years) old HTC evo 3d handset and it works a treat. Before I bought I went looking at 128gig cards but the price was still too high (and my need too low), and while investigating I found out the 128gb barrier was no big deal for my phone. So, I'd wager you'd be OK.

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Re: compatibility

My experience is that the limits they state are because the larger cards didn't exist to test at the time of release, so they don't want to be held accountable for mis-sold features if the newer cards fail.

Seems reasonable (legally), but definitely causes consumer confusion.

Wish my G2 had card expansion... Definitely becoming harder to find on high-end phones.

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128GB at 10MB/s? Good heavens.

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I've a standard 128GB non micro SD card which I use for storing lossless music.

Certainly it's slow to write too. However it's easily fast enough for reading my music gives me the advantage of not eating up any premium SSD space, portability and is not sticking out the side of my machine.

I do like the idea of something similar for my phone... although MicroSD is too easy too lose when you drop it on a carpet, or between cracks in the floorboards.

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"although MicroSD is too easy too lose when you drop it on a carpet, or between cracks in the floorboards."

Or when it's flush against the case, and you have to use your fingernail to click it in, then the spring action slips past your nail, and flys across the room? Yeah, I hate that, happens to me all the time.

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"Thankfully for SanDisk, there are enough people out there that don’t want to be reliant of an internet connection to get their data, and manufacturers recognize that."

Thank God (or the deity of your choice) that this is the case.

"But the longterm trend appears to be towards cloud as a storage medium and, for smartphones at least, SanDisk will have a tougher time of it."

Oh, bugger.

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"But the longterm trend appears to be towards cloud as a storage medium and, for smartphones at least, SanDisk will have a tougher time of it."

Bullshit.

Until we get global, 2-3Mb/s wireless connectivity then MAYBE cloud would be viable..

but as it is I can't get connectivity 100 yards from my house.... AND I won't trust cloud anyway...

What will cause SanDisk to fail is their rubbish Quality control, I've had half my 64gig cards fail, at VERY frustrating times, I mean when I am up a mountain in China, where even if I did have connectivity it would have been terrible... I couldn't even download my music on a hard wired connection....

Samsung on the other hand, their SD cards seem to be near indestructible (well their spec does push that fact so I expect it), sure they are £5-£10 more each, but worth it!

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We may not want cloud storage, but it sure looks like Google and the manufacturers want it. Finding a phone with an microSD slot is getting harder every year. It's the primary reason I bought a Galaxy S4 over an HTC One.

You can desire it all you want, but if no one makes it, you're just as screwed.

Oh, yeah! And just a moment of wonder at 128GB (no matter what the speed) in a thumbnail. Weren't too long ago (2001) that was a cutting-edge 3.5 inch HDD.

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I'd love to get a couple.

Get a pair of them, including the full sized SD card adapter, & slip one into my laptop as "Ready Boost".

I've currently got a full sized 32Gb card in that role, & the difference without it is huge.

So going from 32 to 128 should be more than enough to give this sucker stubby little wings... and a Titan V Booster Rocket up it's arse.

*Amused cough*

The other one would go in my Audio Book player / Ebook reader / music player / digital voice recorder.

It's got a 64Gb card in it at the moment, but I'd have a LOT of fun adding another 64Gb to the mix.

A ton of AB's, EB's, & MP3's to listen to on the bus/train, while waiting in lines, or enough room to record about a week of audio?

*Geeky swoon*

GIMMIE!

=-D

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Re: I'd love to get a couple.

...specially designed for use in Android smartphones

So now they just need to persuade the 'phone manufacturers to provide µSD card slots.

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Stop

Re: I'd love to get a couple.

Sadly, ReadyBoost can only use up to 32GB per device, so you're already maxed out. You'd be better off buying multiple 32GB devices, if you've got the ports for it.

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Re: I'd love to get a couple.

Also, this is news because it's the first _micro_ SD card that holds 128GB. You can already get fullsize 128GB SD cards and they are massively faster than this so would be far more suitable for readyboost.

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Coat

Re: I'd love to get a couple.

SD card, or microSD, would be very unlikely to actually boost performance.

These cards have very good sequential read speeds, decent sequential writes, but random writes are nowhere close to modern SSD (even cheapest ones). You would be lucky to get more than 2 MB/s , and that can only boost your blood pressure.

Sorry to be such a wet blanket. Mine is with SSDs in the pocket.

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Re: I'd love to get a couple.

Readyboost only relies on read speeds - it's a bootup cache technology, read only after the initial fill (and occasional topup).

They're certainly no replacement for an SSD, though. And as mentioned elsewhere, there are way faster SDcard or USB sticks that would be better for Readyboost use.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'd love to get a couple.

These memory cards will die only when people start to trust cloud storage, and it is not going

to happen any time soon.

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Re: I'd love to get a couple.

"So going from 32 to 128 should be more than enough to give this sucker stubby little wings... and a Titan V Booster Rocket up it's arse"

It doesn't work like that, there is the law of diminishing returns, but either way, Readyboost only supports up to 32G per drive. Windows 7 supports multiple drives, up to 256G total, but you'll start seeing the performance peter off with that many (if you can cram them in...)

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Is it just me?

I just have a problem when a card of twice the capacity has more than twice the cost. Sort that and I buy. Otherwise why?

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Re: Is it just me?

Think of it this way: double capacity, half the size.

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Re: Is it just me?

It is ever the case that the newest and biggest initially commands a premium price. There are those that just have to have it (or convince themselves that they do) and it is only after this market starts dying down that the price adjusts down to mass market levels. Meanwhile it will also cause a drop in prices down the chain making the previous incumbents of best and biggest head for the bargain basement. In a couple of years time I expect I'll be reading a post along the lines of - "$250 for a 256GB microSD!!! WTF! I can get 3 of the 128GB and change for a beer for that!"

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Re: Is it just me?

It is ever the case that the newest and biggest initially commands a premium price. There are those that just have to have it (or convince themselves that they do) and it is only after this market starts dying down that the price adjusts down to mass market levels.

Yes ... I bought a 16GB and then a 32GB uSD card at the point I felt they were "affordable" when they'd come down to the ~£30 mark since I felt I needed the extra space each time (alternatively since I couldn't be bothered to sort out what I could delete from my previous smaller uSD card!) but I did so knowing that a few months later that £30 uSD card would be ~£15 and some more months down the line it would be a £10 commodity item.

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Re: Is it just me?

>I just have a problem when a card of twice the capacity has more than twice the cost.

Better than cars. 120MPH Ford Fiesta for 10grand, 240MPH supercar for a million

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Anonymous Coward

First they have to last more than a year.

Almost all microSD cards I've used in my phones have not lasted over a year. I've not skimped on quality/price BTW. They all seem to be shit.

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Re: First they have to last more than a year.

I was going to post: Make sure you save your receipt...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: First they have to last more than a year.

Are you talking 64Gb Sandisk? If so, they had a bad batch I think, I had many fail, and one nearly fried my phone....

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Re: First they have to last more than a year.

"Almost all microSD cards I've used in my phones have not lasted over a year. I've not skimped on quality/price BTW. They all seem to be shit."

I upvoted you because the downvotes are not entirely justified.

I had the same experience when I used a USB flash drive for work. With constant daily usage (read AND writes), I couldn't get more than about a year out of them. Considering they were high capacity units, I was sick of spending a couple of hundred bucks every time one failed.

So I pissed them all off and replaced with a 2.5" drive in a USB case. Four years later I'm still using that very drive.

Some brands are better controller-wise than others, they really do help with the write tolerance. Also not filling the flash device to the brim helps the controller do it's job in shuffling data around.

So, if you're using a flash storage device ON THEIR TERMS, it most certainly can last many, many years. But let's face it, we're dealing with Real Life (TM) here, and that's what the downvoters don't seem to see.

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Eschewing removeable storage

That will likely come to an abrupt end (Apple included) now that mainstream phones such as the Samsung 5S can take 4K video. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvNrGxpS2jY

Let's see you stream that to the cloud in real time then without a big increase in internal storage!

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This should drive the price of 64 GB cards down...

Which is good news, time to replace the 32 GB I have in my Note 3 which is constantly running out of space.. I travel internationally 200 days a year and am based in China which has spotty and unreliable internet connections at the best of times, if I used "the cloud" while traveling I'd be crucified by data roaming rates, and at home I'd only be able to access my data if the GFWC wasn't playing up, so storing data in a cloud is nowhere near a suitable option for me. Additionally of course there's the worry about who else could access my data as well.

I guess I'm not in google's target demographic (nexus), or HTCs (one), as the only phone I can consider needs expandable storage, so trends away from this are worrying.

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Thumb Down

Still far too slow

for a modern DSLR.

Even the highest speed SD card is around half the speed of a CF card.

My D800 can take both. Even with the fastest available card in both slots eve it farily slow max FPS the cards can't keep up. I'm splitting the RAW to the CF card and the JPEG to the SD card.

RAW + Fine JPEG == 80Mb every time I press the shutter.

Get the SD write speeds to to that of the new CFAST standard and I'll applaud you.

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Re: Still far too slow

This is a micro SD card, it's not for putting in your £2000 camera, it's for phones.

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Meh

"The Cloud"

Brilliant idea except for the customers.

Charge you for storage.

Charge you for upload

Charge you for download.

I think Sandisk will be in business for a while yet.

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Re: "The Cloud"

The utility/service model, with costs for 100Gb are ~$10/month, is the one the industry wants you to have with its ongoing payments, uncertain terms and conditions and dubious privacy policy. Had I a non fruity device that could make use of external cards I would use them, not just because I don't trust the cloud providers. The other factor is connectivity with UK providers seeming to prefer well-populated areas so they can flog their premium priced 4G product at them and leaving those out in the 'arse-end of nowhere' (everywhere they can't make a big fat profit) to cope with a barely functional 3G if they're lucky.

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Does that mean we will see 128TB microSDXXXC cards in 2024?

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LDS
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Designed for Android??

Just a spin to sell it to gullible smartphone users? I guess it's not a brilliant move trying to throw FUD to users looking for an high-capacity microSD card but not using Android.

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Anonymous Coward

i can imagine a lot of these going into surfaces, my experiences are usb sticks being more reliable than sd cards, but they have the full size extreme pro range with comparable usb 3 'uhs ii' speeds. still this is an amazing hard drive sized uSD.

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Some rough stats

"But the longterm trend appears to be towards cloud as a storage medium and, for smartphones at least, SanDisk will have a tougher time of it."

I ran the numbers through GSM Arena on the number of Android handsets launched with microSD support worldwide:

In 2012, it was 357 handsets.

In 2013, it was 424 handsets.

In 2014, it was 35 handsets for the first two months. At the current rate, it'll be 210 by the end of the year.

So it looks like microSD support on Android increased in 2013 but is now falling off very rapidly.

(if I had more time and inclination, then I probably should look at the percentages of handsets that had microSD support rather than absolute values and also limit it to USA and EU5 regions)

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RAID would be nice

Having had a uSD fail on me, I'd be *really* interested in a 64GB mirrored SD card (oh, and the phone OS support for that too)

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Anonymous Coward

Fake fail

Yep, most that fail are fakes.

They do what is intended, that is reach the maximum 5% capacity and thus fail early.

I only ever had an old one fail when I happened to break it in two

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verify it's not a fake flash...

There's a testing program that'll write blocks of data to the card, and then read it back. works on thumb drives, cards, anything that registers as a drive letter in windows. While the website is in german only, the program does have an english translation.

http://www.heise.de/download/h2testw.html

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Re: verify it's not a fake flash...

I used it once to verify card I bought was original, it's quite simple to do. Just run, wait, and then check the result. You have to know how to read it, though.

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