Storage capacities of Flash cards are expanding rapidly, but together with this progress a new obstacle occurs; the FAT16 and FAT32 file formats. Most of the digital cameras are not supporting the FAT32 file format so a capacity of more than 2GB was out of the question for most of the consumers. However SanDisk came with a very clever solution. The 4GB SanDisk CompactFlash card features an advanced design from SanDisk that allows it to operate in cameras that use either the FAT16 or FAT32 file formats. It is the only CompactFlash card of its capacity and compatibility level that is available in the popular Type I format and fits into any CompactFlash slot.
The new card can store more than 2,000 high-resolution pictures, or more than 1,000 digital songs or 8 hours of MPEG 4 video (2,155 pictures based on a 4 megapixel digital camera (using 5:1 compression ratio); 1,000 songs based on an average length of 3.5 - 4 minutes/song, 1MB/minute of music; 8 hours of Super Fine MPEG 4 video (320 x 240, 1Mb/sec.).
The 4GB SanDisk CompactFlash card highlights a significant technological breakthrough in compatibility. The File allocation table (FAT) is an area on storage media that contains certain information such as the location of data files, their names, sizes and so on. FAT16, the initial file allocation table that is used by a number of current and most older digital cameras, cannot use CompactFlash cards that are greater than 2GB. FAT32 uses a 32-bit number to point to where the pieces of a file are stored and circumvents the 2GB capacity limit to allow access to storage media up to several Terabytes. Today, only a few manufacturers and camera models utilize the newer FAT32 File format.
The new 4GB SanDisk CompactFlash card features a three-position switch located in the left-hand area of the card so consumers can switch between either a single 4GB (FAT32) volume or two separate 2GB (FAT16) volumes. The switchable 4GB card ensures that users of cameras with either file format will be able to use the new card. For maximum customer satisfaction, SanDisk will initially ship the card in a FAT16 configuration, two FAT 16 partitions, eliminating the need for most users to reposition the switch and reformat. The 4GB CompactFlash card has a suggested retail price of $999.99 and is expected to start shipping in April.