SD Card Association Unveils Embedded SD Standard for Storage Devices

The SD Card Association (SDA) announced it will enter the embedded storage market with the Embedded SD standard for storage devices in November. The Embedded SD specification extends the widely adopted, market-proven SD interface to embedded storage, doubling device storage potential and easing platform design in mobile handsets and consumer electronics devices.

As next-generation mobile handsets and CE devices demand high-capacity embedded storage and flash management solutions, Embedded SD simplifies system engineering by leveraging well-known SD standards. It allows all removable, embedded storage devices and input/output (I/O) peripherals to utilize the same common interface. Embedded SD separates flash management from the host and provides manufacturers and consumers with the flexibility of up to 32 GB scalable high-capacity on-board memory, plus 32 GB of removable memory with any SD High-Capacity memory card.

“The miniSD and microSD form factors are the leading interfaces for removable storage cards for mobile handsets, currently dominating the market, and are expected to constitute 90 percent of all card slots in mobile handsets in 2010, according to our analysis,” said Nam Hyung Kim, director and chief analyst for iSuppli Corp. “The new Embedded SD standard is built on that leading SD standard and takes aim at mobile handset storage needs like low power consumption, boot functionality, small form factor and integrated flash management.”

The Embedded SD standard regulates the specifications of SD interface-based embedded flash devices, easing the integration of storage devices and avoiding market fragmentation in the mobile and CE industries.

The Embedded SD specification defines the mechanical and electrical framework of the new embedded form factor and is also focused on enabling advanced functionality in embedded storage devices. Embedded SD devices offer a smart system solution with a smooth migration path from legacy designs, reduced design complexity and support for code, applications and user data storage.

“The SD Card Association plans to significantly reduce market fragmentation by delivering superior compatibility to the world of embedded storage, just as we have done in the storage card industry,” said James Taylor, president and chairman of the SD Card Association. “The association will continue to drive significant host market expansion while maintaining backwards compatibility with future interface development. The continuous collaboration and cooperation within the association’s ecosystem serves as a strong engine for innovation, consistency and growth.”

To speed adoption of Embedded SD, support of boot functionality requires only minor changes in the host ROM code of currently mass deployed baseband, application and multimedia processors with minimal additional changes to block device driver to support the additional functionality of embedded SD.

The Embedded SD Standard Defined:

  • Fully Compatible with SD standard – Embedded SD is fully compatible with the industry leading SDHC (SD 2.00) interface, ensuring a seamless migration from current SD to Embedded SD designs
  • Both 3.3V and 1.8V Power Supplies – Supported for both flash and I/O power sources
  • Boot from Embedded SD – Reliable and secure storage of boot code on an Embedded SD device reduces the number of memory components in a design, as well as the number of busses required, enabling more efficient designs
  • Flexible Partition Mechanism – Allows multiple physical partitions accommodating varied data sources such as boot code, OS, applications and multimedia content with customizable levels of protection for each partition. Original equipment manufacturers, mobile network operators and content providers gain optimal flexibility and control to configure the Embedded SD device for different usages and data types
  • Protection Mechanism – Flexibility to separately configure each physical partition with different read and write/erase protection modes
  • Data Robustness – Optional configuration of each physical partition of the Embedded SD device, including full immunity to power failure and protection of critical data (boot code, operator data, etc.)
  • Power-Saving Sleep Mode – Option to customize power needs and reduce power consumption and boost battery life

SD Card Association
The SD Card Association is an open industry standards organization established in January 2000 by Matsushita Electric (Panasonic), SanDisk and Toshiba, and is supported by a consortium of more than 1,100 companies. The SDA’s mission is to set industry standards and promote SD product acceptance in a variety of applications. SD Memory Card standards are currently being built into a wide range of digital products such as cellular phones, audio players, automotive multimedia systems, handheld PCs and digital video and still cameras. Parties interested in joining SDA are encouraged to visit the web site or contact helpdesk@sdcard.org.