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New spec enables wireless communication between SD cards

24 Sep 2014  | Gary Hilson

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Data transfer between SD cards is now faster after the SD Association (SDA) updated its iSDIO specification, offering an SD memory card that supports TransferJet contactless communications.

Data on an iSDIO memory card can now be wirelessly, peer-to-peer transferred between devices equipped with TransferJet, including personal computers, smartphones and printers. The new specification also supports contactless communication between other iSDIO TransferJet memory cards in any type of device.

Brian Kumagai, the SDA's president, told EE Times a number of devices already leverage SD cards with wireless capability. For example, high-end cameras use the cards to send high-resolution images quickly, but they are seeing more competition from smartphones.

In general, users are expecting faster data transfers. An SD card with a wireless LAN connection can transfer data between devices within a couple of yards, but that is slower than TransferJet, which does require the devices to be held close together.

Speed-wise, TransferJet transmits data at 560Mbit/s with an effective throughput of up to 375Mbit/s, making it more than 1,000 times faster than the typical NFC setup. Large data files such as videos can be transferred through TransferJet almost instantaneously.


SD Cards could be equipped with TransferJet capability.

Kumagai said the TransferJet specification will likely be used in standard SD cards first, with microSD cards to follow. The association added standardised wireless communication to SD memory card standards in January 2012.

The TransferJet technology is overseen by the TransferJet Consortium, which was established in 2008 by a group of international companies. Its promoter members consist of Japan Radio Co., Olympus Imaging, Seiko Epson, Toshiba and Sony, which oversees the consortium's administration. The nearly 30 adopter companies include Agilent, FujiFilm, Fujitsu, Samsung and Sharp.

Better way of transferring files

A TransferJet whitepaper offers details of its technology. The genesis of the TransferJet contactless communication concept was the recognition that there could be a better way of transferring media files, such as video, other than moving SD cards or USB drives around.

Under this concept, simply touching the two devices together automatically initiates the transfer of files. The short transmission distance minimises the risk of data theft.

The consortium envisions a number of cases for TransferJet. From a user standpoint, TransferJet can be thought of as a universal touch-activated interface that instantly connects a wide variety of consumer and non-consumer electronic products. For example, digital photos can be displayed on a TV just by touching the camera to the TV or a TransferJet pad connected to a set-top box. Other scenarios include archiving digital videos by placing the camcorder close to a PC or sharing music by touching a smartphone to a music player.

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