SD Association commemorates 20 years

The SD Association (SDA) is celebrating its twentieth anniversary after launching 20 years ago. SD memory cards have become the de facto storage device for billions of products in this mobility era when more storage is required. By 2023 and beyond, enterprises, machines, industries, consumers, science, and more will be generating 103 zettabytes per year, according to IDC. Data generated by consumers and by businesses, whether it is from smartphones, tablets, laptops, drones, surveillance cameras, or automobiles, rely on SD memory cards to keep their music, movies, TV shows, games and photos safe and always accessible, according to the association.

Twenty years ago, the memory card marketplace was a confusing mix of about a half-dozen, mostly proprietary card options incompatible with each other and lacked interoperability across different devices, the SDA says. SD was created to become a technology standard to meet growing consumer electronic demand and continue to foster a robust ecosystem for collaborations and growth among all device manufacturers. The founders of the SDA were Matsushita, now Panasonic, SanDisk Corporation, now owned by Western Digital, and Toshiba Corporation, whose memory division was spun off as KIOXIA Corporation.

“When the SD Association was launched 20 years ago, the three founding companies were truly visionary when they saw how the amazingly small SD memory card could make a significant impact on the way we store digital data in the 21st century – ultimately creating a de facto standard for the next generation of digital media,” said Yosi Pinto, SD Association Chairman. “The SD specifications have not only driven the standardization of memory cards for the benefit of the consumers but have also continued to evolve and expand capabilities to meet industry demands, positioning SD as the most recognized and trusted brand for removable storage.”

Highlights of the last 20 years of SDA innovations include:

  • Created 15 major physical and mechanical specifications and dozens of associated publications, related addendums, test guidelines and application specifications
  • Designed the specification of the minuscule form factor microSD, now the most popular memory card trusted by both businesses and consumers
  • Supersized card capacities with SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC specifications that reach up to 128 terabytes
  • Boosted card speeds nearly 100 times from 12 MB/sec to 985 MB/sec with the latest SD Express specification
  • Maintained backward compatibility support with plug-and-play convenience
  • Accumulated 1,700+ members focused on creating and using SD standards

The first SD card sold 20 years ago provided just 8 megabytes of storage capacity. Today SDXC or microSDXC cards are available at 1 terabyte, a ~125,000 times capacity increase over the first SD memory cards.

“By creating SD technology, the SDA helped established a standard to further commercial and consumer businesses into a robust ecosystem that continues to grow,” said Hiroyuki Sakamoto, president of the SD Association. “With the recent SD Express, microSD Express, and SDUC standards, the SDA has developed a roadmap that will serve everyone for years to come.”

The SDA has unmatched expertise in memory card standardization for consumer and business applications. It has robust technical specification development processes and test guidelines backed with compliance activities to test new products for interoperability and conformance to specifications. Plus, its global marketing and communication teams standardize and manage the usage of its trademarks logos and symbols, educate users and promote the adoption, advancement and use of SD standards.