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Three Mobile SD Card Reading Options for your Treo

All Treonauts will carry at least one SD card with them while others may have two or more.  In my case, I now have over 13GB of storage for my Treo spread across ten SD cards for music, movies, photos, games, office documents and TomTom Navigator files.

Whether you have just one card or ten you’ll need to copy/transfer files from a PC to the card and there are three different ways that you can go about doing this:

Software: Softick Card Export II

  • This is an extremely simple and good value application which instantly converts your Treo into a card reader.  With your Treo connected to a PC (via cradle or sync cable) just launch Card Export and any card inserted in your Treo will automatically be recognized on your PC and ready to add or edit files.  On the minus front it’s not fast and transfers will get interrupted if you get a phone call.

Hardware: SanDisk MobileMate SD+ Reader

  • This is one of the smallest, lightest (only 16 grams) and most robust USB 2.0 SD card readers that I’ve owned, the MobileMate (pictured below in the middle) is an absolutely terrific mobile solution (the best that I’ve tested) and I carry one with me wherever I travel.

SD Card: SanDisk Secure Digital Plus Card

  • This is the latest SD card invention by SanDisk (see my earlier review SanDisk Plus SD Cards) which has a built-in USB plug (pictured below right when folded) to convert it into a USB 2.0 Jump Drive when open and a standard SD card (max 1GB for now) when closed.  Evidently with a weight of only 2 grams and the small size of a standard SD card this will undoubtedly be the best portable data solution around.

Speed Tests
You might also be curious to learn more about the data transfer speeds of these three options.  I tested transferring a large 700MB file:

  1. Card Export II: 19 minutes  41 seconds
  2. MobileMate: 2 minutes 43 seconds
  3. Plus Card: 2 minutes 42 seconds

Please note that the slow Card Export II performance on a Treo 650 is entirely due to Palm’s decision not to include high speed wired data connectivity – something which I certainly hope will have been resolved on a future Treo 700p…

I personally choose to have all three of these card reading options because I never want to be in a situation where I don’t have a solution available.  Having said this, the one that I use most frequently is still the MobileMate reader.

Treonauts always look for multiple options

Posted by Andrew on February 10, 2006 at 11:02 AM

Treo Accessories , Treo Memory Card

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by Gfunkmagic | Feb 10, 2006 11:55:05 AM

Forget Card Export. Card Reader by Mobile-stream is soooooooooo much better than card export:


It is much less buggy, MUCH FASTER and also support backround mode which card export does NOT! Check it out...much better product imo...

by Andrew | Feb 10, 2006 2:47:44 PM

Gfunkmagic - thanks for the tip. I hadn't seen the Card Reader application before even though it was in the Treonauts Software Store http://software.treonauts.com/product.asp?id=2062

However, after quickly testing Card Reader:

- I can't say that it's faster (at least not with my 700MB test file) because the transfer time was about the same at 19 minutes or so
- I can't say that it's less buggy because a) I've never had problems with Card Export and b) the 'background mode' does not appear to work well

At this stage the only advantage that I see with Card Reader is that it's slightly cheaper - it would be better if the 'background mode' were to work properly.

Still, thanks a lot for letting me know about this application.

Cheers, A.

by s.elements | Feb 10, 2006 10:39:59 PM

That SD card/USB jump drive combo is just friggin' awesome. I can't believe someone didn't think of that before. I'm definitely gonna be picking one of those up...

by Malatesta | Feb 11, 2006 12:37:20 PM

Ah, but the real question now is this: with the new FAT32.prc file that was lifted from either the 700P/LifeDrive by Shadowmite, will CardExport be any faster? I would think so since everyone is reporting nearly twice the speed of the FAT16 formatted SD Card...(Plus now you can use 4GB cards!)

I recently did a custom rom with the new driver and it's much more zippy (great for launching apps off the SD card).

I'd try to recreate Andrew's test but alas I only have a measly 256mb card. Grr..

by Dzuy | Feb 11, 2006 2:47:21 PM

For anyone who is considering other alternative pocket-sized SD card readers:

SanDisk isn't the only one who makes a pocket-sized SD reader. I did a quick search for other SD readers on Amazon and found at least 3 other companies who make this product. Some of these are designed to provide more protection for the inserted SD card.

The prices on Amazon are very competitive and SD readers from brands like Crucial and Kingston sell for roughly half the price listed at the links in the article. Amazon currently has the Sandisk reader in this article for about $15. Throw in a spindle of CD-R blanks and they'll give you free shipping.

BTW, I searched for "SD reader" on Amazon.

by ggeoffre | Feb 12, 2006 11:36:12 AM

If you are using your Treo 650 from a mac, you must also consider the missing sync. What does this have to do with card readers you might ask? Well Markspace has included a card reader application that allows one to access the Treo 650's SD memory card directly from the finder. You really need to check out all of the features of the Missing Sync from Markspace. it is almost enough for any Treo user to consider purchasing a mac just to sync their Treo with. yes, it is that good, and I have not seen anything like it for the PC.

by Doug Z | Feb 19, 2006 11:12:38 AM

Staples is running one heck of a deal on SD cards. $40 for a 1GB sized card. Amazing. Originally $100,. but they have a $45 instant rebate and $!5 east rebate. I am going to pick 2 up this week. I think the brand is PNY.

This will be my first purchase of SD card for my treo, so I am hoping these work. I just need to get one so that I can transfer all of my pictures to notebook.

Have a great day.

by swarovski | Feb 27, 2006 12:18:39 PM

Very beautiful and interesting blog! I enjoy reading you blog... keep it up guys!
Respect you!

by david yoon | Mar 1, 2006 1:23:44 PM

Anybody know if the SanDisk card reader works with 4gb SD cards? $20 for vastly improved transfer times is tempting.

by Andrew | Mar 1, 2006 1:33:51 PM

david - yes the reader will read 4GB SD cards.

Cheers, A.

by david yoon | Mar 1, 2006 6:36:03 PM

Thanks, Andrew. Best Buy, here I come.

by JohnSC | Dec 31, 2006 12:26:33 PM

I've been reading about the FAT32.prc for the 650. Is there a version for the 600? Yup, I have a 600 and I like it, besides, I dont have the money for a 700W that works on Sprint. If I do upgrade, I may as well go "all the way", eh? But for now, I just need the added storage mostly for large GPS maps.

by lastsalvo | Dec 31, 2006 11:32:09 PM

Actually, I found a semi work-around for connecting your card to the PC. If you have paid for the full version of pocket Tune, it includes a function similar to Card Reader. The AUDIO directory on the SD card shows up as a logic drive. The only downside it that it doesn't allow you to change it to target anouther directory, so you'd have to swap things in and out of /AUDIO. Come to think of it, it isn't actually a pain. But oh well, it's free if you've already shelled out money for pTune.
Cheers and happy 07

by Andre Hiyung | Nov 8, 2007 4:26:08 AM

Can Treo680 read 8 G SDHC? I use 4G SDHC and I cannot install program directly to the card by sync (eg. Sync a dictionary database file). I must copy it by using a card reader.

by Casy Lee | Oct 14, 2008 4:24:42 AM

We can supply you different digital SD card case in competitive price of USD$ 0.8 per unit FOB Shenzhen in high quanlity. We have different color and different kinds made by pure silicone (inside) and plastic (outside). Would we become your supplier to support your work and add your product's profit? best regards

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