Electronics giant Hitachi today unveiled a tiny multimedia card aimed at mobile devices such as digital still cameras and PDAs (personal digital assistants).

The RS-MMC (reduced-size multimedia card) is half the length of a standard MMC, measuring 24x18x1.4mm and weighing just 0.8 grams. The RS-MMC, which has seven pins, can be used in the same slot as a normal MMC.

The MMCA (Multimedia Card Association) approved the RS-MMC standard on 11 November this year, with Hitachi's product being the first to be commercialised, according to a statement from the Tokyo company.

Like a standard MMC, an RS-MMC can be also plugged into the SD (secure digital) card slot when using an adaptor, said Hitachi spokeswoman Chieko Yoda.

The SD card is a secured version of MMC, which was first introduced in 2000. About 500 companies now support the SD card standard, with many products carrying an SD card slot already on the market. An MMC or an RS-MMC can be plugged into an SD card slot allowing unsecured data be transferred.

A lot of digital content doesn't need to be secure and so SD will complement MMC not replace it, said Hitachi's Yoda.

A 16MB, 32MB and 64MB card is available from Hitachi, which started shipping samples of the products Monday. The company hopes to start mass production of the products in the second quarter next year. The prices are expected to be around the same as, or slightly higher than the standard MMC. A 64MB standard MMC is currently sold for around ¥5,000 (US£26) in Japan.

The company plans to release a 128MB and a 256MB card in the second half of 2003.

Sony also recently shrunk its Memory Stick card for smaller mobile devices with the release of the Memory Stick Duo in July. It is one of the smallest flash memory cards available in the market at present, measuring 20x31x1.6 mm.