Memory card manufacturers used CeBIT to introduce smaller, faster, and higher-capacity products.

The SD Card Association yesterday announced a miniature version of its Secure Digital memory card, which it calls Mini-SD. The card, the smallest (602 cubic millimetres) card yet introduced, is designed for use in compact portable electronic devices.

"Every cubic millimetre is important in those devices," said Bo Ericsson, senior vice president of marketing at memory-maker SanDisk. "This is the smallest device out there."

The XD Picture Card, which was launched last year by Fuji and Olympus, and Sony's Memory Stick Duo are also sub-1,000 cubic millimetre memory cards designed for use in small portable electronics products.

The Mini SD cards will be available in 16MB, 32MB and 64MB capacities initially, said SanDisk. A 128MB card is expected in the second quarter and a 256MB version in the second half of this year. Prices for the cards were not announced.

All of the action in the sector isn't just restricted to physical size. The capacity of the cards is also increasing as semiconductor companies find ways to make memory chips smaller.

Lexar Media will begin shipping its 4GB Compact Flash card, it said last week, and SanDisk said yesterday it will also begin shipping a similar capacity card in the middle of this year. CeBIT is also being used by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., better known as Panasonic, to give showgoers their first look at a 1GB SD memory card.

SanDisk has also been working on faster Compact Flash cards and said Thursday it has developed a model that supports a sustained write speed of 6Mbps and a sustained read speed of 9Mbps.

Prices are also falling in this sector, reports claim.