SanDisk has been the top supplier of flash memory cards for 13 years running and for the last 10 years its microSD cards have been flying off the shelves. On the eve of the 10 year anniversary of the format's birth, SanDisk celebrates shipping over 2 billion microSD cards.
That's more than six cards per second over the last decade. And they only took three months to hit 1 million shipments. In comparison, the CompactFlash standard took three full years to reach 1 million.
The cards themselves have remained as tiny as ever, but capacity has skyrocketed – starting from a now-tiny 32MB to 200GB, a whopping 6,250x increase (of course, SanDisk competitors offer 512GB cards too). A recent big change in the card's design came with the launch of the128GB microSDXC UHS-I cards, which stack as many as 16 memory dies (each thinner than a human hair) in order to hit the target capacity.
The company sees the tiny storage cards as a big driver behind the growth of certain tech segments like the action cams (GoPro and others) that rely on microSD cards to store 4K footage. Strategy Analytics estimates 75% of smartphone models have a microSD slot (but this year more of the high-profile ones do not). Also, Google's Android One platform supports expandable storage, unlike the Nexus line.
SanDisk estimates that all the cards it shipped in the last decate total 11,103 billion megabytes, or 100MB for each person who ever lived on Earth (poor cave people and their 100MB cards). The company was named one of Top 100 Global Innovators by Thompson Reuters.
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