A Movie on a Card

I was originally skeptical about the demand for video content on mobile phones, but studies in Europe made me a believer. The US market still trails Europe and parts of Asia in adopting this technology, but signs indicate that Americans are about to see lots of new products and services in this area. And a new development does not require the third generation wireless networks that are slow to develop in this country.

Motorola made a key announcement last week, according to a Reuters report, giving advance notice that they will reveal a new cell phone this week capable of of 30 frame per second, full motion video. The phone is designed to accept high-capacity SD flash memory cards that can hold an entire movie. This means that you don’t need to rely on a wireless network to download a feature length film; instead you just pop in a card and watch your movie whenever and wherever you want.

This idea of putting a movie on a memory card could be revolutionary. Many HDTVs and peripherals already have SD card slots, intended to be a way to show digital photos to a group of people. But there’s no reason why this couldn’t be used to show movies, as well. Imagine how much smaller Blockbuster’s physical inventory would be if they replaced DVDs with SD cards? The cards would be less prone to damage from scratches or careless handling. And you could watch part of a movie on your phone during your morning and afternoon commute, and then finish it that evening on your big screen.

It would be ironic if the HD DVD and Blu-ray competition for HD movie distribution were to be ended with both losing to flash memory cards, but the new Motorola phone could be the first step in that process.