Toshiba Corp. quits memory card business

March 8, 2005 – Toshiba Corp. plans within the month to stop manufacturing SmartMedia memory cards, including those made for other companies under OEM agreements, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun has learned.

Toshiba has been gradually reducing production of the cards, which are used for data storage in digital cameras and cellular phones, since July. It has already notified digital camera makers and retailers of its plans to withdraw from the SmartMedia business. Sales of the cards will continue until the stock runs out.

Some South Korean manufacturers are believed to be producing SmartMedia memory cards, but Toshiba’s output accounts for most SmartMedia cards on the market today.

SmartMedia was developed in 1996, with Toshiba playing a leading role. Featuring a simple structure and a thin design, it was chosen by Fuji Photo Film Co., Olympus Corp., and others for use with a wide range of their early digital camera models.

In 2001, SmartMedia captured the top market share in the world. But the format quickly lost ground because it was unable to meet the growing demand for higher-capacity cards amid the improving resolutions of digital cameras.


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