Increasing capacity of flash memory cards

Samsung will start producing new memory cards next year that have the potential to hold 32 GB of digital files (music, pictures, video, whatever). They also announced a new 7.2 megapixel sensor. I would imagine that by next Christmas, we will start seeing new 7 megapixel cameras at the consumer level from various manufacturers. Wow! The file size of photos taken at the best possible quality level will be huge.

Are 32GB memory cards too big or too small? One 32GB memory card would hold more photos that I take on an average hiking trip, or more than I took on my two week summer vacation this year but my entire collection would quickly grow beyond the capacity of one card. One card would hold my entire collection of digital music and all the documents I’ve ever produced or saved. But as I fill the cards, I would ultimately start worrying about physically losing them, or worry about them failing. How does one protect against loss of a memory card?

How about replacing hard disks in computers with memory cards instead? Can it be done? How fast would Windows XP boot from a memory card instead of from a hard disk. Would it be reliable enough? I would like to see someone produce an expandable array of 32GB memory cards at a price point equivalent to a similar size hard disk. A lot of new computers these days come with a 160GB hard disk. Why not replace that with a 5 card array of memory cards? I don’t think there’s any technical limitation preventing manufacturers from this goal. There may be economic limitations (ie. cards too expensive to compete with a hard disk) but given enough time the price of electronic components always drops. Computers could be built with the operating system on its own memory card. When you want to upgrade the OS, you just replace the card. All your documents would be safe on their own cards. Add another card to hold all the software you use. It could be done. Will anyone actually produce such a system? Who will take up the challenge and commercialize it?

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