Several webstores, including Sony’s official store SonyStyle, now have Memory Stick PRO and Memory Stick Select cards in stock. These finally break the 128 MB limit that Memory Sticks have been up against for too long.
A few years ago, Sony ran into a problem. The original Memory Stick line is limited to 128 MB of storage. This may have seemed like a lot when the format was being designed in the mid-90s, but with its competition soaring to 1 GB and above, Sony needed to replace it. This is where Memory Stick PRO and Memory Stick Select come in.
Memory Stick PRO
The first cards using the Memory Stick PRO format are now available. This format is significantly faster than current ones and has a maximum capacity of 32 GB, though cards of this size won’t be available for a long time.
Unfortunately, it’s not compatible with all Clie handhelds. Sony is currently working on a patch to allow the NX series, the NZ90, and the TG50 to use the Memory Stick PRO. It’s not known when this patch will be available. Palm OS 4 models will not be able to use these cards.
The first Memory Stick PRO cards come in three sizes. SonyStyle is offering a 256 MB one at $150, a 512 MB one at $320, and a 1 GB one at $640. Of course, other companies have them for less. For example, both eCost and PC Mall list the 1 GB card for $500.
For comparison, a 1 GB CompactFlash card usually costs between $200 and $250. The first 1 GB SD cards are expected later this year.
These card will all include Sony MagicGate security technology. Contrary to a frequently held belief, MP3s can be stored on these. MagicGate also allows users to store audio in Sony’s ATRAC3 format, which regular Memory Sticks do not.
Memory Stick Select
Memory Stick Select is Sony’s answer for handhelds that can’t use the Memory Stick PRO format but want more than 128 MB of storage. This offers multiple 128 MB memory units on a single card the size of a current Memory Stick. Users select which unit to read from or write to with a switch located on the back of the card.
A 256 MB Memory Stick with Select Function is available now from SonyStyle for $135. A couple of online retailers list them for about $100 but neither actually has them in stock.
A MagicGate version of this card isn’t currently available. One with four 128 MB parts is in development.