The usefulness of flash is readily apparent everywhere it shows up. Being able to slap a 2GB card into a camera or phone and store a veritable horde of data on it easily is extremely useful. The more you use flash products, though, the more you may find yourself limited by the speed and capacity restraints of it. With even the largest, next-gen flash cards only recently reaching 4GB and speeds still on par only with USB 1.1, people want more. Sony and SanDisk are planning to deliver, and are developing a new memory card format. It'll be an upgrade to the Memory Stick PRO format that is backwards compatible, making it easier to adopt. What's really impressive about these new cards is their supposed capacity and speed limits:
Memory Stick PRO-HG is expected to take digital storage to the next level by adding increased performance and large capacities (up to 32GB). Performance has been increased by upping the internal core clock from 40MHz to 60MHz. As a result, the maximum data rate has jumped to 60MB/sec -- three times that of the Memory Stick PRO format. Minimum write speed for Memory Stick PRO-HG media is listed at 15MB/sec.
While still nowhere near as fast as a desktop hard drive, the read speed and capacity of these cards is amazing, making the larger ones very suitable to place into many things beyond portable devices. A laptop with no shock-vulnerable hard drive or a media machine that is truly completely silent would be possible. This is definitely an area in which Sony could make up for the disaster that was 2006 for them, by tackling specifically the two biggest issues people have with flash: Speed and capacity. Supposedly, the first cards will start to appear next year, though not specific release dates are available.