Microsoft licenses new flash format

Microsoft has announced a new licensing program for its Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) technology. The latest version of Microsoft’s file system, exFAT delivers a ‘significant’ leap forward in terms of the size of files that can be stored on a broad range of consumer electronic devices, and the speed with which they can be accessed.

“There has been an explosion in the use of rich audio and video files,” says David Kaefer, general manager of Intellectual Property Licensing at Microsoft. “exFAT is an ideal file system that delivers fast and reliable use of audio and video files. It is an important technology in Windows 7, and now that we are licensing this technology broadly to the industry, we want to encourage and support partners to build products that also contain this technology.”

exFAT is a new version of the venerable FAT system and greatly increases the size of files that flash memory devices can handle, up from 32GB to 256TB. Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC) cards can now achieve their full 300MBps transfer rates, says Microsoft.

“The exFAT file system supports large volumes, large files and better contiguous on-disk layout,” says James Taylor, president of the SD Association. “And supports the SD Association’s plans for the SDXC specification to provide consumers with quicker transfer speeds, support for very large files and seamless portability among devices. We look forward to incorporating the technology into our products.”

Microsoft already has exFAT licensing agreements with Sony, Canon and Sanyo. Now SanDisk has endorsed the adoption of the exFAT file system for use in the new extra capacity storage media.