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Is 13GB of Memory Card Storage for my Treo enough?

I really couldn’t complain that I didn’t have enough storage on my Treo before – 5GB had done the trick for a little while – but a couple of months ago I just ‘had’ to add two more 1GB cards quickly followed by another shopping spree a few weeks ago where I said “What the hell…” and added three SanDisk Ultra II 2GB cards.  All of this brought my grand storage total to 13GB spread across nine SD cards (below).

It might be a little bit shocking to think that the combined nine cards weigh a mere 19gm/0.67oz but actually cost nearly as much (roughly $1,300) as my laptop (my accountant will not be impressed). 

However, seen under a different light, one could be equally amazed that I’m carrying my (178gm/6.3oz) Treo “mini-computer” with 13GB worth of data in my pocket and that the combined weight is under 1/10th that of my laptop (all except my accountant will definitely be impressed).

Even more importantly, you might be wondering what I’m using all of these cards for.  Well, I’ve allocated the first of Sandisk’s 2GB Ultra II cards for general music, 2GB for classical music, 2GB for movies and 2GB as my main Treo card where I transfer all applications with PowerRun and keep my business files.  I haven’t yet completly figured out what I’m going to do with the remaining 5GB worth of my old 1GB cards but if the past is any indication they will soon be full of stuff as well…

Naturally, now that I have all these 2GB cards I can’t wait for the next upgrade to the 4GB ones which should be just around the corner – I expect SanDisk and others to begin commercial shipments towards the end of Q4.  Having said this, today’s big tech news was Samsung’s announcement that its latest NAND memory device has 16–gigabit density (equivalent to 2GB of storage) and the expectation is that the company will be able to put 8 to 16 of these small NAND chips together to create a 16GB to 32GB flash memory towards the end of 2006.

Yahoo News reports that “the development means more mobile devices can use flash memory rather than hard drives, which can fail if dropped suddenly or produce skips in music if used in high-motion activities such as running.  Flash memory also is lighter and more energy-efficient.”  Samsung is so convinced that flash memory is ‘it’ that the head of its chip division stated that “in the near future, Flash memory will completely replace all portable storage devices - film, tapes, hard disk drives [in laptops] and CDs”.

Additionally, it is anticipated that because Apple has chosen to use Samsung’s flash memory in its new iPod Nano players the price for these chips will continue to drop in price at an increasing rate – which might allow me to afford 64GB of flash memory (4x16GB cards) sometime late next year  

I guess that now there will no longer be any doubt about what the memory in our future Treo 700 & 800 will be… 

Flash memory closing in on hard drives? [News.com]
Samsung Unveils New Flash Memory Chip [Yahoo! News]
Samsung to ship 16Gb Flash chip next year [Channel Register]
Samsung speeds new flash chip to market [Reuters]
Apple's iPod costs likely went up--in a flash [News.com]
Finally, 5GB on my Treo (Sort of…) [Treonauts]

Treonauts can access their memories in a flash

Posted by Andrew on September 12, 2005 at 08:54 PM

Treo Accessories , Treo Memory Card

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» 13GB of Storage on the Treo! from Treo Today
Andrew of Treonauts has a whopping 13GB of storage for his Palm Treo 650 smartphone. The 13GB is spread across SD (Secure Digital) 9 cards and add up to quite a lot of money invested (US$1300). I only have less than 1GB total (one each of 64, 128,... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 12, 2005 11:58:56 PM

» Re: What I have on my fully loaded Treo 650 from tribe.net: blog.treonauts.com
http://blog.treonauts.com/2005/09/is_13gb_of_stor.html Posted by: Steve ... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 24, 2005 1:26:31 PM


by Mike Willett | Sep 12, 2005 9:02:32 PM

All that memory is wonderful, until you have one of the little darlings pop out of your Treo and disappear. I've lost one 1gb card and almost lost the second one yesterday. You look down at your hip and realize why your music or application won't play... it's gone! Does anyone have a suggestion, other than a rubber band, to keep the cards from popping o ut?

by Jean-Paul Horn | Sep 12, 2005 10:01:08 PM

Great posting Andrew. I've translated an excerpt to Dutch and added a link to Brighthand's story about Palm Devices and large-capacity SD cards: http://www.brighthand.com/article/Palm_PDAs_and_Big_SD_Cards?site=Palm

Discussion (in Dutch): http://www.palmclub.nl/forums/showthread.php?t=21817

by Chris von Eitzen | Sep 12, 2005 10:19:17 PM

I'm SHOCKED that you don't have SanDisk's SD II Plus that is up to 1gb and doubles as a USB Drive... See their site: http://www.sandisk.com (and no I dont work for them, I use one in my treo as my main memory and usb drive). It's nice.>>!>

by Andrew | Sep 12, 2005 10:28:08 PM

Chris - I agree, those SanDisk SD II Plus cards are _definitely_ very neat.

In my case however I really wanted to make the jump to 2GB and there are as of yet no Plus cards of this size. Additionally, my two USB2 ports + 4 port hub is completely full so it's actually more convenient for me to use my SanDisk card reader instead.

Cheers, A.

by Steve Packard | Sep 12, 2005 10:46:36 PM

I find it annoying having multiple cards for things like music, becasue then I always end up wanting to make a playlist with songs that are on two different cards. Or running an application from one card while listening to music from another.

Right now I just have one 2gb SD card that I keep a condensed version of my music, movies, programs and emulator roms on. I use Gloonet for serving the rest of my music (though it's far from a perfect solution)

However, I'll be the first in line for the new 4gb SD card when it comes out.

by Paul Biba | Sep 12, 2005 11:36:39 PM

4 GB won't do you much good on a Treo. According to Palm the current OS can only address 2 GB of memory. It will read a 4 GB card as a 2 GB card and the remaining 2 GB will be lost. You can find this info on one of the FAQs on the Palm website. I don't have the url handy right now.

by Steve Packard | Sep 13, 2005 12:13:32 AM

Hmmm...that's a shame. Is there any chance that a firmware update will cure that problem?


by Steve Packard | Sep 13, 2005 12:53:27 PM

In order for my Treo to be a true al-in-one device, replacing my portable media player and other devices, it will need to have a very large amount of avaliable storage.

one solution would be to have a tremendous amount of flash memory on board. Currently the highest capacity flash device is an 8gb CF card, but they're very expensive.

Another solution would be a hard drive of some sort. It would probably make the Treo too bulky if it were included in the Treo, but an external unit, connected with Bluetooth, which you could keep in your pocket, may be an option. Or maybe some sort of cradle, like the wifi unit could work out.

But I think my favorite solution is to let the content live on your home computer and stream it to the Treo. There is currently a program called InfiniFile from OnVerge Labs. It allows you to mount part of your home hard drive as a memory card on Palm devices and then access the media in real time. Unfortionately it currently only supports Wifi and Bluetooth tramsfers, not tansfers over wireless phone networks.

However, they promise to soon have a beta version for phones out. (though they've been promising this for a while). It will probably work marginally well with the current network, but once we have EVDO support for the Treo, it may become a viable solution for media and data storage.


by Evan | Sep 13, 2005 4:00:09 PM

I have heard there are battery drain and/or performance differences among regular sd, sd ultra, and sd ultra plus. Has any one noticed any differences among these types when using the treo 650?

by don mark | Sep 13, 2005 4:39:29 PM

So, this is very impressive your memory collection. So, how to you safely carry all of these without fear of losing them in transit? Also, do you have a numbering system?


by Joe LEE | Sep 13, 2005 5:35:49 PM

With all the shit you're getting for your Treo 650, your view of a "mini" computer of the Treo is dimisihing. you lug around 8 sd cards and you have to switch everytime you needed something.

You watch movies on it, which I think you'll enjoy only the part that you're actually watching it on treo which is cool for a few minutes until your eye tells you otherwise.

You put 2 gb of music on one card, but then you put programs on another; not the most efficient use of Palm's multi-task capabilities.

I have a Treo 650 myself and I find that you have to keep the treo efficient inorder for it to compete with a laptop. You need to add so much crap to it just to compete is not really a fair comparison. The treo can only be compared with laptops with it's stock configuration + an extra memory card.

The point was when I first saw your article of 13gigs of seperated sd cards, I thought: "what an idiot!"

by Andrew | Sep 13, 2005 8:20:16 PM

Steve - I'll have to take Gloonet for a spin soon + I also really like your thinking on the storage options. The main issue is timing - for now I think that we'll see more solid storage but in the future we'll undoubtedly rely more on remote storage via wireless broadband networks.

Paul - in a meeting a few months ago SanDisk had already mentioned the issue of increasing card sizes but I fully expect an update to become available in time for us to use these new cards when they are released.

Evan - interesting but I haven't heard of any such battery drain issues.

Don - For the 3x2GB Ultra cards I mark them with a Sharpie pen. The first with a dot, the second with a cross and the third with nothing. I'm still looking for a good SD card case/holder. I currently carry three in their original protective cases and the fourth inside my Treo.

Joe - I appreciate what you're saying but my setup with the cards is actually a lot easier than the picture that you paint. The main thing is that when I listen to music or movies I will not be doing anything else on my Treo so the issue of multitasking is not relevant for me. The fourth 2GB card with all my applications is the one that I use constantly while the others only occasionally. Naturally I would also much rather have 3x4GB cards and thus be considered somewhat less of an idiot ;-)

Cheers, A.

by Steve Packard | Sep 13, 2005 9:53:17 PM

I wrote to OnVerge Labs a few days ago and finally got a response from them. They tell me that Palm OS 5.x has problems with their software for which they've had some trouble, in the past, finding a work around. They tell me they think they've got it figured out and offered to send me a beta version of their software in a couple weeks.

Their software, for those of you who don't know, allows you to mount your hard drive at home as a memory card on your Palm device. You can then open media, as if it were on the a memory card, and it will stream it to your phone.

I believe (But I'm not certain) that it will throdle the bitrate of the media to make it fit in the alloted bandwidth.

In any case, I'm very excited to try out their software and will keep Treonauts posted on how it works for me.


by Fredrick Gethers | Sep 14, 2005 5:04:54 PM

I wouldn’t get that happy just yet, I also have the Treo 650 and 4 cards (2x512MB, 1x1GB, 1x2GB) to go with it, problem is the Treo 650 can only address 2GB max because of the fat16 file system that it uses, so forget about the 4GB SD card, you cant use it and neither can I.

by will | Nov 15, 2005 10:37:35 PM

O.K., my wife gave me a 4gb card for my birthday, and of course, it will only recognize 2gb of the available memory. I have read on other sites that a hacked fat 32kb driver for the life drive can be swapped out for the one installed by default to the treo. I found a copy of this driver, but can't for the life of me erase the old driver and install the new one. I've use zfile and resco file explorer and have the cingular upgrades. Any advice?

by NutCracker | Jan 6, 2006 12:35:09 AM

Watch out for fake sandisks in the market! They've been spotted on ebay:


by Dan | May 1, 2006 8:04:04 PM

I just got a sandisk 2gb card and although the phone recognizes the 2 gb, I can't get either of my card readers to move files onto it past 1gb. the error is "the drive cannot find the sector requested." Anyone else had this problem? Any work around would be appreciated! Thanks.

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by Trish | Sep 22, 2007 11:45:09 AM

Have you found either a good sd card holder or a case for the Treo680 that holds sd cards except for the holster? Thanks.

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