Hitachi has unveiled a range of new high-capacity flash memory cards including the industry's highest-capacity yet Compact Flash card. The new cards, which are scheduled to begin shipping in sample quantities in July in Japan, make use of a special chip package that, unlike conventional products, contains two 256M-bit memory chips stacked one on top of the other. This makes it possible to store 512M bits of information in a plastic packaging that ordinarily contains half that amount. The technology was developed as one answer to ongoing demands from customers for higher-capacity memory cards, Hitachi said in a statement. Leading the new line-up is a 448MB Compact Flash (CF) card - the industry's highest capacity card in the CF format, said Hitachi. The company also unveiled 256MB and 320MB CF cards. Unlike current CF cards, which are 3.3mm thick, the three new Hitachi cards conform to the recently standardized type 2 format for 5mm thick cards. Hitachi also announced a new type 2 PC Card memory card that accommodates 16 of the double density chips to result in a total capacity of 1GB of storage capacity. The highest capacity CF card, which is the same size as a postage stamp, can hold seven hours of CD quality music while the PC Card can hold up to 16 hours of the same, said the Tokyo-based company. Flash memory cards are commonly used in a wide range of portable multimedia devices, such as digital still cameras and music players, because they feature the ability to retain their contents even when the power is disconnected and consume a small amount of power in operation. Hitachi also hopes the new PC Card will find use among notebook computer users as a high capacity removable storage system or in cases where a second hard drive would otherwise be installed.