SanDisk has announced a series of CompactFlash (CF) cards that double the read and write speeds of its fastest cards available, as well as an 8GB version of its Ultra II CF Type 1 flash memory card.

CF cards are widely used in cameras, video cameras and camera phones to store and transfer data. The new Extreme III CF card, available in storage capacities between 1GB and 4GBs, has a read and write speed of 20MBps, double that of SanDisk's fastest Ultra II CF cards, according to the company.

Both cards are designed for cameras with resolutions of 4Mp and higher, said Mike Wong, a SanDisk spokesman. Professional digital photographers typically shoot images in an uncompressed format, which needs more storage space, he said. "With an 8GB card, you can store hundreds of such images without changing the card."

The Extreme III cards will start shipping worldwide in November at prices ranging between $140 (around £78) for the 1GB version and $560 (£315) for the 4GB version, the company said in a statement.

The new 8GB Ultra II CF flash card will become available at retail outlets worldwide starting in November. In the US, it will be priced at $959 (£537). Current Ultra II cards, available in CF and Memory Stick versions, are available in storage capacities ranging from 256MB to 4GBs.

The company also announced three new media card readers -- the SanDisk ImageMate 12-in-1, SanDisk ImageMate 5-in-1 and SanDisk ImageMate CF, which supports both CF Type 1 and CF Type 2 cards. In addition to supporting new flash card types, the readers include a new button that can transfer files on the flash card with a single push. The button cuts down on the number of steps involved in transferring files from a flash card to a computer, Wong said.

All the readers have USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0 ports. The $34.99 (£20) ImageMate 12-in-1, $19.99 (£11) ImageMate 5-in-1 and $19.99 (£11) ImageMate CF will become available worldwide toward the end of October, Wong said.

As part of an effort to reduce the dependency of digital photography on PCs, SanDisk Wednesday also announced the SanDisk Photo Album, a device that can bypass a PC and display digital media stored on a flash card -- images, audio or movies -- on any TV set with an audio/video input.

It supports JPEG images, MP3 audio and MPEG-1 video. It can also serve as an eight-in-one memory card reader and has two USB 2.0 ports -- one to connect to a PC and one to accept USB-based flash drives or storage devices that contain multimedia files. The $50 (£28) device comes with a remote control and will become available worldwide in October.

The announcements were made at the Photokina digital imaging show being held in Cologne, Germany, from September 28 to October 3.