There are a lot of different flash memory card formats out there. CompactFlash. SD. MiniSD. MMC. RS-MMC. TransFlash.
xD-Picture Card. SmartCard. Memory Stick. Memory Stick Pro. Memory Stick Duo. Maybe you're not ready for one more, but
Lexar is hoping that they can persuade everyone to get behind the USB FlashCard, which is about half the width and
twice as thick as an SD card, and has one very important, major difference from every other flash memory card format
out there: it has a built-in USB connector so you can plug it directly to your computer to copy over files, there's no
need for a separate card reader.
We know exactly what you're thinking: Isn't this just a really, really small USB flash drive? Yep, it is, but Lexar wants the UFC to replace/supplant CompactFlash and SD and they're talking to digital camera, PDA, and MP3 player manufacturer about putting UFC slots in their gadgets (they're pretty realistic about the slim prospects of UFC appearing in smartphones); if you had to choose between a camera that used CompactFlash or a camera that used UFC, it'd be mighty tempting to go with UFC since you would never have to make sure you have a card reader handy to transfer photos to your computer. To help push things along they're letting anyone who wants to work with the UFC standard to do it completely royalty-free (though you will have to pay a royalty to make SD cards or put SD slots in your gear). It'll be a few more months before UFC hits the market, but Lexar says that pricewise it'll be competitive with CompactFlash, and come in 16MB, 32MB, and 64MB versions that use USB 1.1, and 64MB, 128MB, 256MB, 512MB, and 1GB versions that use USB 2.0.