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SanDisk Corp. said it would begin shipping a Secure Digital card combining flash memory and Wi-Fi connectivity beginning next month.

The SanDisk Combination SD Card requires a Secure Digital I/O slot as well as either the Windows Pocket PC 2002, 2003, or Windows Mobile 2003 operating system, meaning that the technology will almost exclusively be tied to handhelds. The card, which combines 256MB of storage plus 802.11b, will retail for about $129, company officials said.

SanDisk designed the card because PDAs typically contain a single expansion slot and may not have Wi-Fi built in. “Either you have SD or you have Wi-Fi, but not both,” said SanDisk spokesman Mike Wong. “Now, there’s no reason not to. In addition, you have the ability to download files without the need to store them in the [PDA’s] system memory.”

The new SanDisk SD Combination card ships with consumer- and enterprise-grade security solutions, including WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), 802.1x, PSK and Wi-Fi Protected Access, on the Windows CE platform.

SanDisk plans complementary enhancements to the USB thumb drives that are already in the market and use flash memory, Wong said. In addition, the capabilities could be added to MP3 players and handheld digital cameras, he said. “It makes sense as we understand the slot,” Wong said. “We intend to work with OEMs. It’s a natural progression, owning that slot, as we plan to add additional capabilities with Wi-Fi.”

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