SanDisk initially will introduce the cards in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela and Peru in South America, and Costa Rica in Central America, with other countries to follow. The cards will be sold in a variety of retail outlets, ranging from photo stores to hypermarkets (large stores that combine drugstore, supermarket and discount goods). Pricing has not yet been determined, but it will vary from country to country and will be targeted at the entry level of flash memory card prices. |
"Shoot & Store flash card capacities are ideal for people who are just entering the digital photography market in this region, and the majority of cameras sold are budget-oriented point-and-shoot models," said Claudio Kalili, director of SOSECAL Industria e Comercio Ltda, the largest distributor of SanDisk products on the continent. "Also, since most consumers cannot afford to own personal computers for downloading their images, the concept of storing pictures on the cards themselves should prove to be economical and attractive."
Latin America is the fastest growing region in the world for digital cameras, according to IDC, an international market research firm. "Last year, the market grew 145 percent, with more than 1 million new digital still cameras shipped," said Jay Gumbiner, program manager for consumer and commercial devices with IDC Latin America in Miami, Florida. "Buoyed by a new technology with dropping price points as well as by an economic recovery in much of the region compared to 2002, many vendors have begun to invest more heavily in the market," he said. "And consumers are beginning to see the benefits of digital photography."
In South America, the leader is Brazil, where 225,000 digital cameras were shipped in 2003, representing a growth rate of 125 percent, said Gumbiner.
Since last spring, Shoot & Store has been available in the United States, Canada and Australia, where the line is sold in supermarkets, drug stores and convenience stores. In the U.S. alone, Shoot & Store is now in more than 10,000 storefronts.
Although the cards are re-writable and function just like standard flash cards, their low prices allow for people to begin viewing them as "consumable" cards, much like consumers today view 35mm analog film, for use in archiving digital pictures on the cards themselves. Users can delete unwanted images, use the cards as permanent "digital negatives," e-mail images to friends and family, and purchase new cards when they need them. They can also leave their cards with photo finishers and order prints in the same way they've been doing with film. Digital images on Shoot & Store cards will not deteriorate over time and are expected to last indefinitely as long as the cards are kept in a dry place at room temperature.
To make it easier for consumers to determine the number of images they might get with a Shoot & Store card, the packages are labeled as having 50 photos (32MB) or 100 photos (64MB) capacities, which are based on a resolution setting of 1 megapixel. At 2 megapixels, a 32-megabyte card would yield about 34 photos. Actual picture counts are approximate and will vary depending on camera model, compression and resolution.