Twenty years ago, Bill Gates steps down as CEO of Microsoft, Sony releases the PlayStation 2 Gaming Console in Japan, the final Peanuts comic strip is published and the first crew to live on the International Space Station (ISS) arrives in space. Today, some of the most important events of that time seem like distant memories, but some things from 2000 have persisted in the decades since. One noteworthy technology innovation has not only survived – it has thrived.  As we enter a new decade, the SD Association remains a leading voice and influential figure in the secure digital storage industry.

The SD Association grew out of an agreement between Panasonic, SanDisk Corporation and Toshiba Corporation. In January 2000, the three companies sought to create an industry-wide organization that could monitor the development of SD technology, creating standards where necessary to keep the market on track. The SD Association was not intended to create products itself, but instead provide standards to guide innovation in the industry. Today, the SD Association is a global ecosystem of companies that are setting the highly necessary and valued memory card standards that simplify and create better quality assurance. As such, these standards enhance the use and extend the life of consumer electronics and mobile phones for millions of applications every day.

“I’m honored to have been a member of the original team that introduced the first SD Association specifications back in 2000, and continue to be proud of our achievements, including the recent SD Express cards spec with the added PCIe/NVMe interface.” said Yosi Pinto, Chairman of the SD Association. “We’ve been such an integral part of the constantly evolving flash memory industry, which has contributed some of the most trusted and forward-thinking technology for global consumers and businesses. I’m excited to see where the next 20 years takes memory technology and the SD Association’s continuous involvement in supporting ongoing advancements and innovation.”

Examples: Counterfeit SD Memory Cards Seized

The SD Association hit an early milestone in 2000 when it published standards for full-sized physical SD cards. But the organization didn’t rest on its laurels for very long. Instead, anticipating changes to the market, the SD Association kept working, determined to maintain its newfound influence in the digital storage world. That determination directly led to more milestones, including standards with new form factors like microSD cards in 2005 and continuous evolving interface speeds.

With each successive advance, the SD Association helped transform everyday life for the average electronics consumer. As personal devices became increasingly popular in the 2000s and continued to evolve in the 2010s, the SD Association helped guide the production of the memory cards that supported those devices. Consumers suddenly had more storage to work with, giving them greater capabilities, whether they sought memory to conduct work remotely from a personal device or memory so trusted it was safe to store their precious photographs from a family vacation.

The SD Association’s success did not go unnoticed in the memory card industry. The member companies understood that membership conferred many benefits, including the prestige of association with an industry-leading organization. Crucially, these companies were also able to contribute to the drafting of the SD standards that guided the industry and shaped the market. As a result, today more than 1,700 member companies joined the SD Association over the last 20 years. Each eager to help make their mark as strong contributors and ensure the SD memory standards remain the pinnacle of trusted excellence.

The SD Association has shown consistent growth and innovation since its early days. In total, the association has crafted 15 major SD specification versions, averaging one new major SD spec every 1.3 years. Meanwhile, the SD Association published more than 93 million bytes of information and 8,000 pages of technical specifications to help guide the industry forward. These major accomplishments have encompassed multiple spec types, including physical, security, file system, application, simplified, test guidelines and mechanical addendums. That quick pace to stay relevant and provide leading edge standards, demonstrates the SD Association’s proven ability to adapt to an ever-changing market without sacrificing the diligence and attention to detail that has characterized the association since its beginnings.

The SD Association’s level of commitment and vast body of experience with SD memory and card technology has given it an extremely prominent position within the market. Meanwhile, the association has also built a sturdy internal structure to match its market strength. The SD Association has combined the three essential departments of technical development, compliance and marketing under one roof, thereby guaranteeing uniformity among spec development, market inspections and external communications.

“When Panasonic, SanDisk Corporation and Toshiba Corporation came together back in 2000 to organize and launch the SD Association, they had an enormous challenge ahead of them to achieve reliable standards for the development and interoperability of SD memory cards and SD host products, and to accept SD standard in the global market,” said Hiroyuki Sakamoto, President of the SD Association. “One of the reasons I am committed to this organization is due to the extraordinary investment of ideas and vision contributed by the more than 800 SD Association member companies. It is through the enormous contributions of our membership that the SD Association, and the SD memory technology industry, are facing such a promising and ever-evolving future. We can all look confidently ahead to the many exciting and diverse ways that SD memory card technology will be contributing to a wide array of industries and consumer applications.”

All indications show that the SD memory industry will continue to go heavily digital in the decades ahead. As reliance on electronics grows, it is more important than ever that markets and consumers have quality memory cards, tools and resources to store the information users need and use on a daily basis. The SD Association is contributing to a future where emerging technologies and SD memory takes application environments to new heights, and continues to prove that it keeps pace with ever-changing industry innovations.

For additional information about the SD Association, membership opportunities opportunities and current standards, please visit the website at

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