|Type||Non-profit standards development organization|
|Founded||January 28, 2000|
|Headquarters||2400 Camino Ramon, Suite 375|
San Ramon, California, U.S.
|Owner||Western Digital (SanDisk)|
|Parent||Western Digital (SanDisk)|
The SD Association (SDA) is an American nonprofit organization that sets memory card standards intended to simplify the use and optimize the performance of consumer electronics that people use in every country. SanDisk, Panasonic (Matsushita) and Toshiba formed the SD Association in January 2000. Today, the SDA has approximately 1,000 member companies involved in the design and development of SD standards. Thousands of device models and hundreds of products across dozens of product categories integrate the small, removable memory cards.
The SD Association sets industry standards for SD memory cards that define the next generation of memory cards that allow product-makers to develop new products. This strategy has made the SD memory card the most widely used removable memory card form factor in the industry.
"SD memory card" and "SD host device" are the umbrella descriptions for any memory card or device built to SD standards. The SDA does not manufacture, market or sell any product. It exists solely to create industry standards and promote the adoption, advancement and use of SD standards. These standards are adopted by product manufacturers that make mechanical definitions and environmental requirements); File System Spec (definitions of the file system requirements in SD cards); SDIO and Intelligent SDIO card specifications (wireless LAN and TransferJet interface SD memory cards); SD Host Controller Interface Spec; Advance Security SD specification, implementation and test guidelines.
- Eli Harari, CEO and founder of SanDisk Corporation
- Youichi Morishita, President of Panasonic (Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd)
- Taizo Nishimuro, CEO and president of Toshiba Corporation
The SD Association held its first meeting on January 28, 2000, in San Francisco and elected the first SDA Board of Directors on April 13. The Board of Directors included 14 industry leaders from Alpine Electronics, Compaq, Eastman Kodak Company, Hewlett Packard, LG Electronics, Matsushita Electric, Mitsubishi Electronics, Motorola, NEC, Samsung, SanDisk Corporation, Sharp, Thomson and Toshiba Corporation. Shortly thereafter, SD v1.01 was released. The first SDIO specification was released in October 2001 and the miniSD released two years later in February 2003. Multiple SD specifications were announced in 2004 including the First Advanced Security SD (ASSD), First Controller Interface and SD v1.10 with high-speed mode (25 MB/s).
MicroSD specifications  was released in 2005 with SD v2.0 SD- High Capacity (SDHC), introducing memory cards with up to 32 GB of storage in 2006. SD v3.0 brought Extended Capacity (SDXC)  specifications offering memory cards with up to 2 TB of storage and Ultra High Speed – bus transfer speeds of up to 104 megabytes per second (MB/s) in 2009. SD versions 4.0, v4.10 and v4.2 were introduced between 2011 and 2013. Version 4.0 included UHS-II interface specifications with bus transfer speeds of up to 312 MB/s and a new pin interface providing backwards compatibility. Function Extension specifications and UHS Speed Class U1 were included in v4.10 while v4.2 contained UHS Speed Class U3 specification, supporting 4K video. smartSD with NFC capabilities was introduced in 2013. September 2013 saw the first intelligent SDIO (iSDIO) specification along with wireless LAN addendum.
In February 2016, the SD Association announced its fastest speed class, Video Speed Class, which delivers real-time multi-file recording for many applications and supports the highest video resolutions and qualities available. With Video Speed Class, 4K, 8K, 3D and 360 degree video recordings are now assured and accessible.
In November 2016, SD Specification 5.1 established the new Application Performance Class to meet technical and market requirements to both run and store applications on SD memory cards while still providing storage of pictures, videos, music, documents and other data. SD 5.1 introduced the first and most basic App Performance level, App Performance Class 1, or A1. In February 2017, the SD Association expanded its App Performance Class with Application Performance Class 2 (A2), more than doubling random read and write speeds guaranteed in the entry level App Performance Class 1. Introduced in SD 6.0 specification, A2 is the next class level and provides more flexibility in the market for cost-performance optimization based on the product, the application of the product or market needs.
In February 2017, the SD Association introduced UHS-III, doubling the fastest SD memory card transfer rate up to 624 MB/s. UHS-III faster speeds help move large amounts of data generated by data-intense Gbit/s wireless communication, 360-degree cameras, drones, 3D, 4K and 8K videos recorded on SDXC and SDHC memory cards.
In June 2018, the SD Association introduced SD Express which adds the popular PCI Express® and NVMe™ interfaces to the legacy SD interface. The PCIe interface delivering a 985 MB/s maximum data transfer rate and the NVMe upper layer protocol enables advanced memory access mechanism, enabling a new world of opportunities for the popular SD memory card.
In tandem with the SD Express release, the SD Association also announced the SD Ultra Capacity (SDUC) card. The maximum storage capacity in SD memory cards grows from 2 TB with SDXC to 128 TB with the SDUC card. Both innovations maintain the SDA's commitment to backward compatibility and are part of the new SD 7.0 specification.
In February 2019, the SD Association announced the microSD Express. The microSD Express cards offer PCI Express and NVMe interfaces, as the June 2018 SD Express release did, alongside the legacy microSD interface for continued backwards compatibility. The SDA also released visual marks to denote microSD Express memory cards to make matching the card and device easier for optimal device performance.
In May 2020, the SD Association introduced the SD 8.0 (SD8.0) specification for the SD Express memory card. The SD 8.0 Specification for SD Express memory cards receives even faster transfer speeds by using the popular PCI Express® (PCIe®) 4.0 specification delivering a maximum of nearly 4 gigabytes per second (GB/s) data transfer rate. These full sized cards continue to use the NVMe Express™ (NVMe™) upper layer protocol enabling advanced memory access mechanism. SD Express memory cards using SD 8.0 specification maintain backward compatibility. The cards can move large amounts of data generated by data-intense wireless or wired communication, superslow motion video, RAW continuous burst mode and 8K video capture and playback, 360 degree cameras/videos, speed hungry applications running on cards and mobile computing devices, ever evolving gaming systems, multi-channel IoT devices and automotive to name a few. SD Express will be offered on SDHC, SDXC and SDUC memory cards.
In May 2022, the SD Association announced the SD 9 Specification. The new SD 9 Specification includes three advanced security features: Boot support, Trusted Computing Group (TCG) Storage, and Replay Protected Memory Block (RPMB) authenticated memory. SD 9 gives device manufacturers the ability to use an SD memory card for all memory and storage needs, simplifying future device upgrades or repairs and enhancing security capabilities for applications when the cards are tightly bound to specific hosts. Devices ideally suited for the new capabilities defined by SD 9 include Chromebook™ computers, tablets, drones, surveillance cameras, dash cameras, gaming consoles, virtual reality (VR) headsets/glasses, small IoT modules and wearable medical devices. The features defined in SD 9 are available to both microSD and full-sized SD memory card form factors, and are supported by a variety of bus options including SD Express.
Organization and structure
SDA is led by a board of directors, chairman of the board, president, secretary and treasurer. The SDA also has multiple board committees including finance, legal and licensing, plus ad hoc committees that address specific needs. SDA's organization operates three primary committees – technical, marketing, and compliance.
The association ensures global coverage by having key boards members in each region:
- ATP Electronics Inc. (Germany)
- Kingston Corporation (United States)
- KIOXIA Corporation (Japan)
- Lexar International
- Micron Consumer Products Group, Inc. (United States)
- Panasonic Corporation (Japan)
- Phison Electronics Co. (Taiwan)
- Samsung Electronics Co, Ltd.
- SanDisk Corporation
- Silicon Motion, Inc. (United States)
- Tuxera Ltd. (Finland)
The SDA meets quarterly to review spec developments and promotion planning. Meetings provide a venue for SDA members to receive updates on SDA activities and an opportunity to update SD specifications and standards.
General Assembly Meetings are held bi-annually (spring and fall). General assembly events include an open plenary session in which members receive updates about SDA activities followed by speakers from the industry or market analysts. The committees hold working sessions after the plenary sessions. The board meeting is held after all plenary and committee meetings.
The SDA also organizes interim face-to-face meetings twice a year (summer and winter) where the various committees and the board of directors meet. Additional meetings held by the SDA include interoperability events, global workshops. The SDA also participates in trade shows and industry events.
- SD Card Association President: Hiroyuki Sakamoto, SD Association
- Vice President: Paul Norbury, Cardwave Services Ltd
- Board of Directors Chairman: Yosi Pinto, SanDisk Corporation
- Treasurer: Bo Li, Western Digital
- Secretary: Ashita Gupta
- Technical Committee Chairs: Noriya Sakamoto, Toshiba Corporation and Yosi Pinto, SanDisk Corporation
- Marketing Committee Chair: Kazunori Nakano, Toshiba Corporation
- Compliance Committee Chairs: Minoru Ohara, Allion Labs, Inc., Tsutomu Ando, Canon Inc.
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