Press Releases

SanDisk Flash Memory Cards Survive Plane Crashes, Bouts With Washing Machines and Other Mishaps

Dec 19, 2000

Users Attest To Ruggedness Of CompactFlash And MultiMediaCards

SUNNYVALE, CA, Dec. 19, 2000 - As Ron Rosberg's water plane touched down on Northern California's Clear Lake last August, he expected another normal landing on the resort lake. But, within moments, the touchdown turned into a terrifying experience for Rosberg, a high-tech commentator on Bay Area radio stations, and his young nephew seated next to him.

One of the plane's struts suddenly collapsed, sending the aircraft into a spiraling crash amid an explosion of water and metal. Within seconds, Rosberg's plane had flipped over and started sinking. He and his nephew struggled to rip off their shoulder and waist safety harnesses. Both were able to free themselves and swim safely to the surface. They were not injured in the crash.

However, Rosberg's HP 200LX handheld computer with 3,000 phone numbers stored on a SanDisk CompactFlash card had disappeared into the bottom of the lake. Rosberg quickly hired a diver to rescue some of his belongings that had gone down with the wreckage of the aircraft but the diver couldn't locate the computer.

Rosberg considered the loss of his 3,000 business and personal phone numbers a significant setback.

Eight months later the diver went down again into the lake on a separate job, and while on the bottom, decided to look for the handheld computer. This time he found it and took it to the resort Rosberg operates on the lake.

Rosberg slowly slid the dripping card out of the ruined computer. He carefully dried the card and slipped it into another computer. Would the card, after being submerged underwater for eight months, still work and bring back his critical list of phone numbers? 

The answer popped up immediately on the screen. The card still worked and every phone number was intact.

"It's incredible that something so complex was able to survive eight months of being underwater and then work so perfectly," said Rosberg.

His experience is only one example of the durability of SanDisk's solid-state flash memory cards, which include CompactFlash, MultiMediaCards and PC cards. 

Over the years, SanDisk flash memory cards have survived arctic temperatures, being run over by cars and trucks and being accidentally sent through washing machines and dryers. 

Sue Bardakos of Pleasanton, CA had the washer-dryer experience. 

Her husband had left one of the MultiMediaCards, used for an I-Jam MP3 player, in one of his shirt pockets. She retrieved the card as she pulled the wash from the dryer. 

Mrs. Bardakos, sure that the hot temperatures, churning washer, soap and tumbling dryer had destroyed the card, was astounded when she inserted it into the MP3 player and clearly heard the favorite music that her husband had recorded on the card. 

In the Midwest, a farmer lost one of the cards from the computer inside his high-tech combine. He found the card later, buried in a morass of mud and grass, where the combine had run over it. After carefully cleaning the card, it worked perfectly. The card contained invaluable information that recorded the rate of growth of different fields on his farm. In another case, the owner of a handheld computer accidentally left the machine on top of his car. As he started to drive, the small computer fell off the car roof and was crushed by the car's tires. However, the SanDisk card survived intact.

Lito Seva, SanDisk's senior director of worldwide applications engineering, attributed the hardiness of the cards mostly to the fact that they are solid-state and the fact that SanDisk has garnered an enormous amount of manufacturing experience in building more than 20 million such cards over the past 10 years. He explained, "There are no moving parts and there is nothing that would cause them to corrode immediately, so water won't affect them. They've survived even in ocean salt water. We have many stories of their surviving; however, while we don't guarantee them, they are so robust and reliable that they almost always continue working after exposure to extremely detrimental environments."

SanDisk Corporation, the world's largest supplier of flash data storage products, designs, manufactures and markets industry-standard, solid-state data, digital imaging and audio storage products using its patented, high density flash memory and controller technology. SanDisk is based in Sunnyvale, CA.

The matters discussed in this news release contain forward looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties as described under the caption "Risk Factors" in the company's annual report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company assumes no obligation to update the information in this release.


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