The last few years the number of hard drive players have diminished drastically and we’re left with only the iPod Classic, Zune and a few large media players that still use this technology. There has been somewhat of a gap between HDD players going off the market and flash players replacing them as there’s still only a few players doing 32GB of flash. A forum topic about a new 32GB PNY card on Amazon is the first sign we’re getting that SDHC cards have now reached 32GB at a reasonable price. This means that players using SDHC cards will now get a drastic memory boost. Read on to see the possibilities of these new cards.
SDHC cards are supported by more and more players, but the most common ones are the Cowon D2, Creative Zen and the Archos 605 flash. All these players should in theory support the 32GB SDHC cards although someone always have to take the plunge and be the first one to test. The 32GB SDHC will boost the maximum capacity of the above players to 48GB, 64GB and 36GB respectively. There are of course downsides like the poor integration of the SD files on the Zen and the 4000 files limit on the D2.
The D2 does integrate files however, so if you have a 16GB D2 and a 32GB SDHC card you can use the internal memory for smaller files and the card for larger files and then use ID3 browsing to browse them all as one. This should get you pretty close to filling the 48GB and with FLAC and OGG support the D2 should now prove even more of a lovable gadget for those with large music collections. At $235 for the 16GB D2 and $150 for the 32GB SDHC it’s not a bad deal for 48GB of flash especially seeing some flash players go for $320 for 16GB alone. I do however again have to press the issue that we still don’t know 100% for sure if the card will work – it should, but it still needs confirmation.
The largest capacity flash player you can get with real integration is now the Nokia N800. If you read the Canola feature you know it doesn’t lack features and with dual SDHC slots it’s a full 64GB of flash memory fully integrated in your portable music library. It will cost you close to $550 and there are definitely players with better sound quality, but it’s always an option.
Rumors on the infamous world wide web also says that SanDisk is planning to drop internal memory altogether, something that’s surely not a bad idea seeing that memory cards seem to be outmaneuvering internal memory in terms of cost. It’s also a nice way to let people choose capacity themselves without the companies having to offer up different models which will both help make things simpler in terms of running out of stock of some capacities- also to fix the problem of having one model left over while others sell out. Imagine having the Sansa Clip or Sansa Fuze with only a SDHC slot; both players have excellent sound quality and with support for memory cards only you could either stick with 2-4-8GB or go all the way with 32GB. Personally I love the Clip and would love for it to support all my music. I don’t need a big screen and the Clip is already faster at browsing than most big players.
Either way the 32GB cards will open up a lot of new possibilities and maybe help convert some HDD fans to the flash side of things. A release price of $150 isn’t half bad and SDHC cards have a tendency to drop to half the price within 6-12 months, so while we wait for the cards to be even cheaper there’s only one thing left to ask: When will the 64GB cards be out? EDIT: Never, since commenters have pointed out SDHC cards have a maximum capacity of 32GB