The format of future memory cards, SDXC, just announced by the SD Card Association -- of which Panasonic is a founding member -- allows data storage in capacities between 32GB and 2TB.
That's 2 terabytes, folks: about as much storage in one thumbnail-sized device as I have in every computer and external hard drive in my home added together. That's also as much data that's on forty 50GB double-layer Blu-ray discs. Panasonic notes as much in its press release -- is the company teasing the potential demise of Blu-ray before the format even properly lifts off? The spin goes something like: SDXC will allow "consumers to conveniently store more data, helping them to experience a true High Definition digital lifestyle."
And the absolutely gargantuan storage capacity of SDXC -- courtesy of Microsoft's exFAT file system--isn't all: the new architecture should enable read/write speeds of 300 megabytes per second. That's ten times faster than Sandisk's current high-end Extreme III SD card.
Memory cards of that size, if priced correctly, may change the way we think about data as consumers: you may chose to keep every photo or video you ever take, since storage capacity and even the size taken up by the memory sticks themselves simply wouldn't be a problem. Admittedly that's with current tech levels -- if we all start shooting HD video and 41-megapixel still photos then the data will simply expand to fit the space available.
No pricing or timing is set out as yet--at least initially you can expect to pay similarly gargantuan prices for these things. But Panasonic has at least said it'll be releasing a 64GB card as soon as possible.