As people use mobile devices for more and more tasks, their data storage demands keep growing. So data storage company Western Digital, maker of SanDisk products, is targeting that demand with its latest release: a 400 GB microSDXC card.

It's the highest-capacity microSD card to date and holds twice as much data as its previous breakthrough, a 200 GB card released in 2015, according to the company. Designed for Android smartphones and tablets, the new card can store the equivalent of 40 hours of full-HD video, according to Western Digital. The 400 GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC UHS-I card (pictured above), which comes with a 10-year limited warranty, will be available in the U.S. for $249.99.

Up to 1,200 Photos a Minute

With support for data transfer read speeds of up to 100 Mbps, the SanDisk Ultra microSDXC UHS-I card can transfer as many as 1,200 photos in one minute for users with USB 3.0 readers, according to Western Digital. The company said the card also meets A1 App Performance Class specifications for fast app loading.

The new microSD card is aimed at today's "mobile-centric lifestyles," according to Sven Rathjen, Western Digital's vice president for product marketing. The capacity of the card was achieved through a combination of design and production processes that enable more bits per die, the company said.

Mobile users are demanding more memory for everything from entertainment to business, according to an IDC analyst Jeff Janukowicz. "We anticipate that storage needs will only continue to grow as people continue to expect more sophisticated features on their devices and desire higher quality content," he said yesterday in a Western Digital statement. "We estimate mobile device users worldwide will install over 150 billion applications alone this year, which require a ton of memory on all of our favorite devices."

1 TB SD Cards Not Far Off

Western Digital said customers will also see new memory control capabilities through its updated SanDisk Memory Zone app for Android devices. Available through the Google Play store, the app lets users locate, back up, transfer, and organize data, even tagged content from social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram.

"The rise of photo- and video-centric apps like Snapchat and Instagram especially have fueled the need for larger amounts of storage as higher-quality smart phone cameras continue producing higher-resolution photos and videos," SD Association president Brian Kumagai noted in a June commentary on his organization's Web site. "Higher-resolution content means each picture or video size is much larger; plus, these photos and videos now store geolocation and other metadata, further increasing the file sizes."

According to a 2016 forecast from the analyst firm Strategy Analytics, global memory card usage is expected to approach 800 million units by 2021, with the greatest number of cards offering storage capacities of 64 GB to 255 GB.

"Current capacities for microSD memory cards range from 1 GB to 512 GB, depending on the manufacturer, and with technologies continuing to advance, it won't be long before there is a 1TB card on the market," Kumagai said. Last year, Western Digital last year unveiled a prototype 1 TB SD card, but cards with that capacity are not yet commercially available.