Who says the big boys can't be friends? While Samsung, SanDisk, Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic would probably disagree with each other on just about everything, there are still three magical letters that can bring even the biggest rivals together: DRM. While the consortium is doing everything it can to avoid the term, there's no hiding the truth -- the temporarily-named 'Next Generation Secure Memory Initiative' is designed to protect HD content by using "unique ID (identification) technology for flash memory and robust copy protection based on public key infrastructure." Just when we thought Louis C.K. had proven that slapping DRM around something wasn't the best approach, here we go taking a few monumental steps in the wrong direction.

In essence, it sounds as if they're crafting a way to distribute Blu-ray-quality material on SD cards and embedded memory (sound familiar?), and they're also hoping that this will "enable various HD content applications such as HD network download, broadcast content to-go and HD Digital Copy / Managed Copy from Blu-ray Disc." Notably, we're told that Android-based smartphones, tablets, TVs and Blu-ray products in particular can look forward to taking advantage -- in other words, Apple's going to keep doing what Apple does. If all goes well, they'll start licensing the new secure memory technology early next year, and if we had to guess, we'd say the adoption trajectory perfectly matches that of slotRadio. Good luck, folks -- you're going to need it.
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PANASONIC, SAMSUNG, SANDISK, SONY AND TOSHIBA JOIN FORCES TO COLLABORATE ON NEXT GENERATION SECURE MEMORY SOLUTION

Five Companies plan to jointly form 'Next Generation Secure Memory Initiative'


December 19th, 2011-Panasonic Corporation, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., SanDisk Corporation, Sony Corporation and Toshiba Corporation today announced that they have reached an agreement in principle to collaborate on a new content protection technology for flash memory cards such as SD Cards and various storage devices. Under the "Next Generation Secure Memory Initiative"*1, the five companies will start preparing for licensing and promotion of HD (high-definition)-capable security for SD Cards and embedded memory for use in advanced consumer applications such as tablets and smartphones.

This content protection solution will be robust enough to protect HD content. A high level of content security will be realized through the use of the initiative's technologies, including unique ID (identification) technology for flash memory and robust copy protection based on public key infrastructure.

The five companies believe this technology will enable various HD content applications such as HD network download, broadcast content to go and HD Digital Copy/Managed Copy from Blu-ray DiscTM*2 media. With these applications, users can enjoy HD content on a wide range of devices, including AndroidTM*3-based smartphones and tablets, TVs and Blu-rayTM*4 products.

The five companies believe that they each can make substantial contributions that, when combined, will enable them to start licensing the new secure memory technology early next year. The five companies expect to see adoption of flash memory products and various embedded flash memory solutions using this technology in the market in 2012.

"Panasonic has always been an innovator in providing the best possible content viewing experience in the living room through development of Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3DTM technologies and products" said Yoshiyuki Miyabe, Corporate CTO, Panasonic Corporation. "With our new secure memory solution, we are excited to create a strong link between the living room experience and the mobile experience. Now consumers can enjoy watching premier content, such as movies, on the go with their smartphones and tablets".

"Samsung believes that the time is ripe for an advanced security solution and welcomes the opportunity to deliver a highly viable solution using flash memory chips. Samsung's ongoing commitment to technology excellence will now further extend to early market availability of high-performance NAND technologies implementing the new advanced security solution," said Young-Hyun Jun, Executive Vice President, Memory Business, Samsung Electronics. Co., Ltd.

"Consumers are ready for a solution that enables the effortless consumption of online and offline content across multiple device platforms," said Sumit Sadana, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for SanDisk. "SanDisk looks forward to building on its history of innovation in the Flash industry by delivering optimized memory solutions to enable this new usage model with robust security technologies that can protect premium content."

"We believe the secure solution created by this initiative will enable customers to enjoy high quality experiences anytime, anywhere. Sony has always been focused on bringing amazing experiences to people through highly-advanced technologies in content creation, content distribution and picture display," said Hiroshi Yoshioka, Corporate Executive Officer and Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation.

"This technology will open a new door to flash memory applications. As a flash memory manufacturer, we are pleased that our flash memory technology will contribute to bringing people more convenient and exciting experiences of HD content. We will continue our development efforts to create surprising innovation," said Yasuo Naruke, Corporate Vice President, Vice President, Memory Division, Semiconductor & Storage Products Company, Toshiba Corporation.

About 'Next Generation Secure Memory Initiative'
'Next Generation Secure Memory Initiative' (a tentative name) is a collaboration of Panasonic, Samsung, SanDisk, Sony and Toshiba to license and promote HD (high-definition)-capable security for SD Cards and embedded memory for use in advanced consumer applications such as tablets and smartphones. For the details, please visit http://nextgenerationsecurememory.com/

*1 "Next Generation Secure Memory Initiative" is the tentative name, it will be decided later.
*2 "Blu-ray Disc", "Blu-ray" and "Blu-ray 3D" are trademarks of Blu-ray Disc Association
*3 "Android" is a trademark of Google Inc.
*4 "Blu-ray Disc", "Blu-ray" and "Blu-ray 3D" are trademarks of Blu-ray Disc Association

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Tech mainstays finally come together on something: littering more HD content with more DRM