SanDisk Gives Flash a Speed Bump with First-of-a-Kind Android-Friendly microSD

January 6, 2017

By Greg Scoblete

At Photokina, SanDisk teased a ginormous 1TB SD card. At CES, the company was less concerned with size and more focused on speed.

Both the company’s new USB drive and microSD card achieve speed benchmarks for their respective categories.

SanDisk’s Extreme PRO USB 3.1 USB drive can deliver read speeds up to 420MB/s read and write speeds up to 380MB/s. That equates to transferring a full-length 4K movie to the drive in under 15 seconds.

The drive offers a USB 3.1 interface (but a traditional USB Type A connector) and will be sold in 256GB capacity. It includes 128-bit encryption and password protection via SanDisk’s SecureAccess® software. It will set you back $180.

SanDisk is also readying a new microSD card with a neat trick: the ability to quickly load apps on Android phones. The new card supports the SD Card Association’s A1 standard, which was designed for Android devices with card slots (75 percent of all smartphones, per Strategy Analytics). It is the first such memory card that supports the new standard.

When used in an Android device, the Ultra microSD card can be assigned to system memory, not just file storage, so that users can load up on apps even if their phone has limited internal memory. The A1 spec ensures that memory cards are fast enough to load apps. In app loading, sheer read/write speeds that govern photo and video file transfers aren’t applicable. Instead, it’s the card’s ability to manage random read input-output access per second (IOPS) that matters.

The A1-certified microSD card can also be used for photo and video storage. However, if you pull it from an Android device with apps on-board, the card would have to be formatted before it could be used in a camera. When the card is in a smartphone, however, it can store both files and apps.

SanDisk’s 256GB A1-ready microSD card hits stores later this month for $200.