Memory Stick’s Reach Grows

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Sony has been working aggressivly this year to increase the use of its Memory Stick format. It has announced several new variations on this type of removable memory card and several companies have recently announced they either are becoming licensees or widened previous agreements.

The Memory Stick was the second most widely used type of removable memory card in 2002, according to market-research firm Gartner. It is behind CompactFlash, while the SD card is in third place. Still, the popularity of the SD card grew significantly and Sony has been working hard to be sure the Memory Stick remains competitive.

Memory Stick PRO It started off this year by announcing the Memory Stick PRO. These have a maximum capacity of 32 GB, though cards of this size won’t be available for a long time. The original Memory Stick format topped out at 128 MB.

It also said there would be a PRO version of its Memory Stick Duo, which is about a third of the size of the original Memory Stick and are mostly intended for mobile phones and other ultra-small devices. Still, these can be used in full-sized slots with an adapter.

Sony has also been working hard at finding new licensees. Early this month, Samsung announced it will begin making Memory Sticks. Samsung already produces DVD players, mobile phones, PCs, and televisions that use these cards but this will be the first time the company has manufactured them in-house.

Last week, SanDisk announced it is now producing and selling both the Memory Stick Duo and Memory Stick PRO Duo. The largest one of these is 512 MB. This company has been producing regular Memory Stick and Memory Stick PRO cards for some time.

And just yesterday, Philips Electronics announced it was licensing the Memory Stick to use in its TVs.

Though many have complained in the past that Memory Sticks are too proprietary, these announcements show that the format is increasingly being used by a variety of companies. In addition, Sony itself has become more open to rival memory card formats. Its NX80V and NX73V handhelds have both Memory Stick slots and CompactFlash slots that can be used with memory cards. The company also recently announced the Cyber-shot DSC-F828, a digital camera that takes both Memory Sticks and CompactFlash cards.

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