SanDisk TrustedFlash aims to take-over prerecorded CDs

Even though neither the Super Audio CD nor DVD-Audio succeeded in replacing the Audio CD, the company SanDisk, maker of flash memory cards has released a new memory card, TrustedFlash designed as a potential replacement for audio CDs.  These flash cards are designed to be sold containing pre-recorded music, like audio CDs, however they are the size of a fingernail and designed to work on MP3 players, PCs and mobile phones.

TrustedFlash memory cards will also offer free space to allow them to be used with compatible digital cameras as memory or as storage for other music.  Unlike traditional audio CDs, these flash cards can also contain locked music, where the user can go online to purchase the extra tracks or albums in order to unlock them.  As expected, the music contained on these memory cards will be protected with DRM and thus music cannot be copied from the cards.  However, as these cards already contain the music on them, users can freely play their music on any equipment supporting these cards by simply inserting the card into the desired device. 

Besides music, these cards can potentially be used for other purposes such as movies and games.  So far, Emi Group and Yahoo Music have taken on the TrustedFlash format.  Other companies including Samsung Mobile Communications, NDS (company behind the encryption for DirecTV, Sky Digital and many other Pay-TV operators) and Packet Video are supporting this technology.  The cards are currently being sold in the US for about $40, although it is not clear if this price is for blank or pre-recorded cards.  They are expected to hit the UK by Christmas.  Thanks to DamnedIfIknow for using our news submit to let us know about the following news:

A CARD the size of a fingernail is the latest entrant in the format wars for delivering music in a move that may spell the end of the CD.

The ‘gruvi” music cards, similar to the memory cards used in digital cameras, will contain pre-recorded music and are designed to play on mobile phones, MP3 players and computers. As the albums will take up only a small portion of the card’s capacity, the extra space could be used to store films, photographs and games.

They could also store content downloaded from the internet.

SanDisk, the technology company behind the cards, hopes that the new devices ‘” which are being sold in the US for about $40 (£23) and which will be available in this country by Christmas ‘” will eventually reduce the costs of buying music. Several music companies, including EMI, have already shown an interest in providing their artists’ works on the ‘TrustedFlash” format cards.

Some more info can be read on this Mercury News article.

It seems like SanDisk is trying to overcome the issue with copying music from copy-protected CDs to flash cards / MP3 players by actually getting the record labels to sell music directly on flash cards.  This means that the user is not limited to how many compatible players they may play their music on, however there is a catch:  The user still only has one copy and it is much easier to misplace something the size of a fingernail than a CD! :p

Even though these TrustedFlash cards may be very compact, consumers may not like the idea of having to carry several of these with them or change them often.  Also, unlike CDs, these cards obviously cannot be played in CD players either, unless the DRM system allows some form of recording to CD, which would effectively defeat its anti-piracy measures.  This also means that the trusty audio CD format still has a long life ahead of it yet.

DamnedIfIknow wrote:  *begin sarcasm* More Digital Rights Management, Grooveee Baby!! *end sarcasm* Well, I suppose it”s better than having your digital files stuck on one device only like an iPod.

Source: Times Online