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Lexar announces 8GB 90X, Smart Download and ActiveMemory rollout  
Monday, February 27, 2006 | by Rob Galbraith

Lexar's PMA 2006 announcements include two new items geared towards professional photographers: a Pro Series 8GB 90X CompactFlash card and a photo import plug-in for Adobe Bridge called Smart Download. They also set a ship date for the ActiveMemory System line of camera media the company first announced some time ago.

The Pro Series 8GB 90X CompactFlash card replaces the 8GB 40X model in Lexar's lineup. The 8GB 90X is a 3.3mm-thick Type I CompactFlash card, rather than the 5.0mm-thick Type II of the 8GB 40X. It will be bundled with Lexar Image Rescue 2.0, Corel Paint Shop Pro 9 (a fully-functioning copy, not a demo) and a trial version of Photo Mechanic. The Pro Series 8GB 90X CompactFlash card is scheduled to ship in April 2006.

Lexar Smart Download is a photo import plug-in for Adobe Bridge on Windows and Mac. The software will be able to transfer photos from up to four cards concurrently, says John Omvik, Lexar's Director of Pro Product Marketing, with options for renaming, embedding IPTC information, sorting the photos into folders by date shot and automatically creating a backup of photos as they're imported. Smart Download will be included with the upcoming Active Memory line of CompactFlash and SD cards. The program will work with any brand of card or reader, and will also be available for purchase direct from Lexar for US$29.95. The software is slated for release by the end of March 2006. Smart Download will also be capable of reading data in the ActiveMemory area of ActiveMemory cards, for streamlined application of IPTC information as photos are being imported.

ActiveMemory is about to hit streets. ActiveMemory, says a press release, is "workflow technology that stores user preferences and host device settings in a protected area on AMS flash memory cards. These settings can only be modified by the host application that created them and can be used to auto-configure multiple AMS-enabled products within the system. Also, these settings are preserved even when the card is re-formatted or other data files on the card are deleted, because the AMS data is stored outside the standard DOS file structure on the card."

Starting as soon as March 2006, says Omvik, Lexar will begin shipping Pro Series ActiveMemory 80X CompactFlash in 1GB, 2GB and 4GB capacities, and Pro Series ActiveMemory 120X SD in 1 and 2GB capacities. ActiveMemory cards will ship with Smart Download, Image Rescue and a trial version of Photo Mechanic. Lexar has also announced that there will be three third party applications that support ActiveMemory initially, in addition to Lexar's own Smart Download application. These applications are Camera Bits Photo Mechanic , Pro Shooters DigitalPro and Corel Paint Shop Pro X.

And finally, the company's LockTight card encryption technology will be introduced into an SD card in the future, though when that will occur is dependent on when a LockTight-compatible camera with an SD slot emerges, says Omvik.

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