CES Dispatch-Panasonic's Giant-Sized Memory Card

Panasonic is promising to unveil some exciting hardware and software innovations during the opening keynote Monday at the annual Consumer Electronics Show. But in its press conference on the Sunday before, it wowed the crowd with a very little something that could pack a big wallop. The industry leader in plasma TV technology also has a very good business making and licensing SD, or Secure Digital, memory cards. These postage-size gizmos are used in digital cameras and other devices to store music, photos and video.They are popular because they have no moving parts that drain battery life and are relatively cheap. Still, they haven’t seriously threatened the hard drive business dominated by companies like Seagate. That could be about to change with the company’s new 32 GB SD card, which is says can hold more than five hours of full HD 1080 progressive video. No word on pricing, but this monster drive can hold tons of music, digital info and photos and should prove very popular with consumers. Good things come in very small packages indeed. Other things of note from Panasonic: a home theater-in-a-box system that is the industry’s first to include a Blu-ray player, a Bluetooth phone that can take your cell phone calls indoors and an environmental partnership with Sharp Electronics and Toshiba to help recycle the millions of tons of old electronics around the globe.

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