What Does The Future Hold? (Wild Speculation)

What’s next for portable digital audio players? Anyone care to discuss the possibilities for the future?

Right now I have a 4GB Clip (first generation) and a 4GB Fuze with 2GB, 4GB and 8GB microSDHC cards. That’s plenty for me for right now. The Fuze and the Clip+ come in capacities up to 8GB, and the microSDHC specification allows for expansion cards with capacities up to 32GB. That will provide as much as 40GB of storage space for our media files. What more could we ask for in such a small, low-cost, high-quality player?

The SD Association, the organization that sets the technical specifications for SD cards, has issued specs for the next generation of SD card: the SDXC (X stands for eXtended). It provides for SDXC cards, miniSDXC cards and microSDXC cards with capacities above 32GB up to 2TB. In addition, the specs provide for faster read/write times than currently implemented by SD and SDHC. Unfortunately, SDXC cards will not be playable in SD or SDHC hosts like the Fuze or the Clip+. So, we will need a new device.

I can envision SanDisk coming out with a Sansa Fuze II or a Clip Double-Plus :slight_smile: with a high-capacity internal memory of at least 64GB and a microSDXC expansion slot. If the 2TB limit on the cards is ever realized, imagine how much music you can put on one card! Imagine the price! Of course memory prices are always falling. Right now 8GB and 16GB microSDHC cards are available for about US$2/GB. As unrealistic as it may be, extrapolate that out to a 2TB card and you get US$4,000. Ouch! I’m sure by the time they are released to the public, these cards will cost substantially less. It will be interesting to see just how much less.

If I wanted to get my entire music library onto one device, I can see getting a 64GB Fuze II plus a 500GB microSDXC card if and when they ever came out. I have never really been an early adapter of new electronic gizmos, so I would probably wait a year or so to give them a chance to work the bugs out and to let the price come down a bit. But I would be chomping at the bit while I was waiting.

What would that cost? Who knows! It’s all speculation anyhow. Whoever thought you could get a high-quality portable player that fits about 200 albums (128kbps MP3) on 12GB total storage for $60? That’s what I paid for my Fuze (“used” off Craigslist but virtually brand new) and the 3 microSDHC cards plus SD and USB adapters for the cards. Just a few years ago I paid a few hundred dollars for a 200-CD jukebox carousel. I thought that was the coolest thing going, especially since 3 of them could be stacked and linked for a total of 600 CDs. Of course, I had a tough time fitting it in my shirt pocket and taking it with me when I had to leave the house.

I’m looking forward to the implementation of the SDXC specifications in a Sansa DAP. Until then, I’ll continue to enjoy my Clip and Fuze very much, thank you.

Thoughts and comments would be appreciated. Thanks.

Check out the SD Association website for details on all the SD card specification:

wow… they have an assosiation for sd cards??? what a bunch of no lifes. :angry: 

@nissanskyline wrote:
wow… they have an assosiation for sd cards??? what a bunch of no lifes. :angry: 

it is the group of manufacturers that hold the patents on SD cards not a bunch of no life people.  

@nissanskyline wrote:
wow… they have an assosiation for sd cards??? what a bunch of no lifes. :angry: 

They would probably classify people who occasionally hang out and post unhelpful, uninformative, or insignificant drivel on mp3 player forums pretty much the same way.

Spotted at the last meeting of the SD Manufacturers Association Coffee Social…

Claire got a little carried away at the Bingo game.

Bob  :smileyvery-happy:

They look a little old to be coming down with the chicken pox. :smileyvery-happy:

The progress in flash memory has been great over the past 10 years, with flash memory cards going from over $3,000 a GB to under $3 a GB. If this trend continues, we should expect to see flash memory cards at around $3 a terabyte in 10 years.

The progress in battery technology has been much slower though. I would love to see a player the size of the Clip+ with 100+ hours of battery life.