Faster storage for tablets on tap, SD Association says

SD Association is releasing the SD 4.0 specification, and media based on the spec could be available next year

Devices like e-readers, tablets and smartphones could get faster storage as early as next year with the new SD 4.0 media card specification, the SD Association said.

The SD 4.0 specification will be released to manufacturers this quarter, a spokeswoman for the trade association said on Wednesday. The new specification establishes the storage capacity and bus transfer speeds for Secure Digital media, which can be slotted into devices to store images, video or other data.

SD cards are commonly used as external storage in smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, camcorders, navigation systems, gaming consoles and laptops. Historically, it takes 12 to 18 months before new products become available to consumers once the specification is released to manufacturers, the spokeswoman said.

"It's up to the member to decide when they create products using it," the spokeswoman said in an e-mail.

The SD 4.0 specification will move data faster between the card and the device at 312MB per second, which is three times faster than the previous generation. The SD Association is currently pushing SDXC, which can transfer data at a theoretical maximum speed of 104MB per second.

However SDXC media is expensive, and most consumers devices -- including the latest tablets -- come with slots based on the earlier SDHC specification.

The SD 4.0 cards, when released, will be available in capacities ranging from 32GB to 2TB, which will remain unchanged from the SDXC specification. The highest capacity SDXC card offered is 128GB media from Lexar, which transfers data at 20MB per second.

Though SDXC has not yet reached its full data transfer capacity, the SD Association is already looking to double the transfer speeds in the SD 4.00 specification in the future, said Norm Frentz, chairman of the SD Association, in a statement.

The new memory card standard could bring features such as high-definition video to mobile devices. High-definition video typically requires high storage capacity and large bandwidth for devices to play back content.

Users will also be able to shoot high-definition video and write it to SD 4.0 media in real time, the association said.

The SD Association also announced an e-book application specification to store e-books on SD media to share across multiple mobile devices. The association hopes that SD cards will be one way to share or move e-books. However, efforts to use SD for media distribution in the past have failed. Two years ago Toshiba enlisted SD cards as a way to distribute movies through self-service kiosks in stores, but the effort never took off.

The SD Association offerings typically compete with offerings based on CompactFlash specifications. The CompactFlash Association recently introduced a specification, CF 6.0, that is expected to transfer data at speeds of up to 120MB per second.

The SD Association has about 1,000 members, including Sony, Samsung and Toshiba.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags storagehardware systemstablet PCslaptopsCESConsumer Electronics Show (CES)SD Association

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?