Comments on: New Memory Sticks Announced at CES

CES 2003: Sony Electronics has announced a new larger capacity memory stick format, the Memory Stick Pro. In addition Sony has announced Memory Stick® media with Memory Select Function? which incorporates multiple 128MB memory units on a single card and works with existing devices.
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'mo memory

Palm_Otaku @ 1/9/2003 5:56:34 PM #
Interesting. So for Clies only the NX and NZ-series can use the new MSpro. But, the MS Memory select offers a not-too-bad workaround for earlier devices.

Pricing is, um, interesting too.... (gulp)

- Dan

RE: 'mo memory
terrysalmi @ 1/9/2003 6:11:42 PM #
Good job on Sony's part to make T-NR owners happy by allowing this MS-Select technology to essentially have two memory sticks in the device at once. While not perfect, it's atleast an option.

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RE: 'mo memory
masitti @ 1/9/2003 7:58:02 PM #
$880 for 1 GB! That's insane! And $190 for a 256 MB...? SD can often be found for less than $100 brand new. While I understand this is brand new stuff... it isn't the first 256 MB memory card either. :-x

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RE: 'mo memory
maddie @ 1/9/2003 11:44:40 PM #
SanDisk 256 goes for $119.00 !!! I'd rather change devices again!
Back to Palm!!!

RE: 'mo memory
TobyG @ 1/10/2003 10:22:53 AM #
"SanDisk 256 goes for $119.00 !!! I'd rather change devices again!
Back to Palm!!!"
Not only that, but Sandisk has announced that it's going to be bringing out a combo WiFi/256MB SD card by mid 2003 for $150 (compatible with PalmOS 4.x and higher). I guess the PR flack that said CNet was wrong turned out to be wrong himself.

"Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance." - Sam Brown
RE: 'mo memory
Lucky Bob @ 1/10/2003 2:58:52 PM #
$880 for a 1 GB memory card, huh? Gosh, I better go out back and start planting my money trees...

(Why do some people say you can kill two birds with one stone when it's hard enough killing one bird with two stones?)
RE: 'mo memory
Palm_Otaku @ 1/10/2003 7:59:50 PM #
Heh - well you can always put aside an additional $2500 for one of Pretec's new 3GB CF cards while you're at it.

The top end of the removable memory range has always been very expensive - ask any of us who were early adopters of digital cameras for horror stories... ;)


zigzago @ 1/9/2003 6:08:52 PM #
Having to move a switch on the Memory Stick with Select to access a different bank of memory is hardly more convenient than having two separate memory sticks.

RE: Kludge
abosco @ 1/9/2003 6:39:24 PM #
Sure it is. Now, you don't need someplace to store that extra 128 MB Memory Stick. Just leave it in the slot all the time and you've got 256 MB.

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RE: Kludge
hkklife @ 1/9/2003 9:34:50 PM #
In all honesty: (this is leaving my overall reservations/personal dislike for MS, as well as the hollow promises for "multi gig capacities in 2 years" when I bought my old Sony Cybershot)

This IS the best possible solution for customers who have invested a lot in the original MS format.

Kudos to Sony for at least attempting to offer continued support for older devices instead of having a fiasco similar to what has marred Smart Media devices since day 1.

Why is this better than 2 128 mb MS's?
Well,when I first got an SD digicam, I was carrying around 4 16 meg cards and one 32mb card. it was nightmarish trying to keep track of all of those little fellows.

Similarly, back in 2000, I had 4 8mb MSticks and a 16meg MS. If I still used MS, I'd gladly pay a small premium to have a 256 "switchable" MS instead of two 128's or 4 64's. The cost savings would have to be substantial to put up with the aggrivation.

Imagine having one of the new Konica digicams that allow a SD and a MS in the camera could really go for some CF-style capacities between the two of those...I just hope the prices on the "new" original MS comes down in price soon.

RE: Kludge
TobyG @ 1/10/2003 10:25:27 AM #
"Sure it is. Now, you don't need someplace to store that extra 128 MB Memory Stick. Just leave it in the slot all the time and you've got 256 MB."

Nope. Unless you take it out to flip the switch, you've got 128MB. Unless it sells for significantly cheaper than two 128MB sticks, there isn't a big advantage. It's not like an extra MS is that big to carry around.

"Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance." - Sam Brown

RE: Kludge
markgm @ 1/10/2003 5:18:47 PM #
It's enough of a pain to carry a seperate one around with you that I don't do it.

How could this be?!

jamesgood72 @ 1/9/2003 6:11:59 PM #
I just don't understand how Sony could create MemorySticks with this 128MB limitation. Senseless! The 'switch' feature is a temporary work-around, in my opinion, not a real solution. Does anybody know the technical reason for this limit? I take it cameras like my F707 cannot use >128MB contiguous 'Sticks?


RE: How could this be?!
blue9 @ 1/9/2003 6:46:59 PM #
It sounds like these cards with the switch will work on all clie devices without any patches needed. Even better that a patch is all that's needed to support the pro format (for us T and SJ users)

RE: How could this be?!
MikeInDM @ 1/10/2003 10:13:42 AM #
I don't understand your comment. I believe these cards were made to address DEVICES that have a 128 limit, by allowing additional 128 segments on a card.

They also announced new cards up to 1gig, so obviously they don't have a limit of 128.


RE: How could this be?!
naturefreak85 @ 3/31/2003 3:21:17 PM #
the problem from what i know, lies not in the card, but in the device, seems to be sony lacked the know how to bypass the 128 mb size in cards so they left it at that feeling no reason to upgrade it for larger if they had no need to.....hence one more reason why i will never go back to sony, sony only wants to work basically with sony products whereas i can use my palm m505 with its sd card with my toshiba laptop with built in sd compatibility, much better choice if you ask me

And it will compete with......???

Wollombi @ 1/9/2003 7:33:32 PM #
I hardly see how this "new" format will compete with SD. The only thing going for this is the marketing muscle of SOnly. SD is already established with higher data transfer rates then the original memory sticks, and up to 1GB capacity already available. SOnly has merely claimed these new capacities and speeds, with nothing tangible to show for it (meaning it will not meet all the marketing hype), and lagging in the capacity race.

Add to that the completely prohibitive price (for the "dual stick" it's $160.00 when I just got a 256MB Lexar SD card for under $100.00), and it certainly has an uphill battle.

I'm not saying it won't work, I'm just saying I'm just a bit underwhelmed here, and have yet to see the physical product.


It is not very comfortable to have the gift of being amused at one's own absurdity.
-Somerset Maugham-

RE: And it will compete with......???
polymath @ 1/9/2003 8:19:50 PM #
1GB SD has been announced, but it's not yet available. It's likely that MSX-1G will be out before SD 1G (Fall 2003?). The MS Pro has comparable performance with SD as well.

I think MSX competes extremely well with SD in my book.

CF right now is the most popular format, and the lowest price.

RE: And it will compete with......???
Wollombi @ 1/10/2003 12:40:35 AM #
Umm...check out Lexar's website. The 1GB cards exist.


It is not very comfortable to have the gift of being amused at one's own absurdity.
-Somerset Maugham-

RE: And it will compete with......???
n0where @ 1/10/2003 12:49:10 AM #
I don't think the 1GB SD card is available yet from anyone.

I think if someone emailed Lexar and asked about this page:
They would put a note there after the '1GB' saying 'not yet available'. It seems misleading unless they really have the product out.

Panasonic has '*Not available yet.' noted for their 1GB & 4GB Sd card sizes in the table.

RE: And it will compete with......???
MikeInDM @ 1/10/2003 10:16:22 AM #
But the assumption is that people pick their device based upon the media.

I bet there are more people who pick TVs, camcorders, cameras, and even Palm OS devices based upon the name Sony and not based upon the type of memory they use. (Especially if they have no previous investments in a particular type of memory card).

They compete with other cameras that have SD (or CF or SM) and can now offer more "pictures per stick". Along with the computer with the built in MS reader, and the TV with the MS reader, and heck, I've got all of these other devices that use MS, why not one more?


RE: And it will compete with......???
polymath @ 1/10/2003 10:21:04 AM #
As far as I know 1G SD will not be available before this summer (more like Fall)

SONY's Edsel?

robrecht @ 1/9/2003 8:16:54 PM #
Max: Hi, my name is Max. How may I help you?
Max: Welcome to
You: Hi, Max. This past year I bought a SONY PCG-GRX570 laptop and a SONY DSC-P9 digital camera with the understanding that SONY was developing memory sticks with 2 GB capacity. Are the new Memory Stick Pro sticks going to be compatible with these expensive items?
Max: Yes, most of the Memory sticks that are going to be released will be compatible with the GRX Notebooks.
You: Most? Please be more specific about the 2 GB sticks.
Max: However, we do not have the required details about their compatibility online now.
Max: You will have to wait till they are released.
Max: Like I just mentioned, you will have to wait till they are launched to know about their compatibility.
You: If not, many of your customers will feel defrauded by SONY's promises!
Max: Sony will always stick to its advertisements and promises.
You: People are watching very closely, Max and SONY. If there is no assurance of compatibility, how will SONY "stick to its promises"?
Max: That is the reason, I am requesting you to wait till these sticks are launched.
You: If an embarrassment in marketing, at least Betamax was superior technology. Memory Stick may become SONY's Edsel. I know, wait, wait, wait. In the meantime, Secure Digital and CompactFlash devices seem like safer investments. Tungsten T? Glad I didn't buy a Clie T-665. I know, wait, wait, wait ...
Max: Thank you Robert, for visiting
Max has disconnected.

Thanks, Robrecht
RE: SONY's Edsel?
UZI4U182 @ 1/9/2003 9:08:01 PM #
whew, looks like you shut down Max! :-P

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RE: SONY's Edsel?
useybird @ 1/9/2003 10:17:08 PM #
looks like fun, I should try harassing sony, just for kicks!

Microsoft is the root of all evil.
Right, Bill?
RE: SONY's Edsel?
MikeInDM @ 1/10/2003 10:22:12 AM #
Hmmm... a new sport? Pick on minimum wage customer service representatives because they can't comment on products that are not released.

That sounds like fun? It sounds more like a sport for someone who doesn't want a challenge.


160Mbps. . . .that's fast

doctor__no @ 1/9/2003 9:52:00 PM #
Now I'm begining to understand why it's not backwards compatible.

15Mbps/s minimum and 160Mpbs/s max is pretty fast.
I'm using an ATA100 harddrive and it can only do 100Mbps/s.

mind you...
SD media currently maxes out at 10Mbytes/s and the 1GB SD media is suppose to be able to go up to 20Mbytes
(remember 8bits in a byte), so the next generation SDs should be able to match performance of the Memorystick Pro.

Since the orignal memory stick was desinged waaaay before the SD, I guess it needed a design overhaul to stay competitive to the SD media.

RE: 160Mbps. . . .that's fast
Lidocaineus @ 1/10/2003 1:40:06 AM #
Uh, first off, that's Mbps, not MBps. BIG difference. 15 mbps is around 1.875 MBps and 160 mbps is around *20* MBps. They're using mbps, like network technology - 10/100 mbps. Compared to even a slow hard drive, that's slow.

Secondly, no ATA drive does 100MBps, that's the maximum bus speed of the interface. Your drive can't even burst that high (and bursting isn't even an accurate measurement of HD performance). ATA drives top out around 60MBps sustained, which is why ATA66 is still good enough for a majority of people. 15,000RPM SCSI drives can't even fill up an entire 100MBps pipespace - the Seagate Cheetah 15k (fastest HD on the planet, really, and I own one :P) maxes out around 85MBps sustained.

RE: 160Mbps. . . .that's fast
maynard @ 1/10/2003 10:14:57 AM #
What I really like about this post is the 160Mbps/s. Mbps is megabits per second. Adding that /s turns it into a measurement of acceleration. If these things could do 160Mbps/s, just think how fast they could get at a sustained writing session lasting a couple of minutes!

RE: 160Mbps. . . .that's fast
doctor__no @ 1/10/2003 1:12:27 PM #
Ahem. . . . Excuse me.
Can you people please read the post before you reply.

I make a clear distinction between megabits and megabytes. I even explain to you that there is "8bits in a byte".

Another thing to Lidocaineus. Modern ATA drives can do maximum of over 100Mbps. Let me remind you that the ATA100 can do maximum sustained at 100mbps and the ATA133 can do 133mbps max and there are now ATA166 drives out that can do 166mbps, and pretty soon serialATA. Sorry but your knowledge of HD are outdated unfortunetly.

RE: 160Mbps. . . .that's fast
markgm @ 1/10/2003 5:21:36 PM #
doctor no, your error isn't in calling the transfer of the Sony products Mbps, it is in calling hard drive transfer rates Mbps. They are measured in MBps. ATA100 can do a max of 100MBps, or 800 Mbps. The newest ATA166 could then do a theoretical max of 166MBps, or 1328Mbps.

RE: 160Mbps. . . .that's fast
Lidocaineus @ 1/10/2003 5:40:15 PM #
Sorry doctor no, but you don't know anything about the difference between hard drive sustained speed and bus speed. there is NOT ONE ATA hard drive out there that can fill an entire ATA100 pipeline.

I suggest you go to and educate yourself on how fast hard drives really pull data off the platters. Again, NO HARD DRIVE has even REACHED 100MB/sec speed yet. *NONE* Just because the speed of the host controller is rated that high doesn't mean your hard drive is actually GOING that fast. As an example, please go to

and you will clearly see that the current fastest ATA hard drive (a 7200 Western Digital 200 GB model) doesn't even surpass 66MB/sec sustained at the highest rate, slowing down to 33MB/sec along the inner rings.

And as Markgm points out, hard drive speed is measured in megaBYTES/sec, not megaBITS/sec.

RE: 160Mbps. . . .that's fast
Lidocaineus @ 1/11/2003 12:16:00 AM #
Oh and one more thing - there will never be a hard drive on current standards that will reach 133MB/sec. Reason being is the PCI bus limitation. Your hard drive controller sits on the PCI bus. Guess what the bandwidth limitation of industry standard PCI (33 mhz) is? You guessed it - 133 MB/sec. Now maybe if you cut off everything from the PCI bus (all your expansion peripherals, memory access, etc) you might, MIGHT hit 120. The rest would be filled with overhead. And your system wouldn't be running at that point anyway, hence the reasoning for second generation PCI standards, such as PCI-X, 3GIO, InfiniBand, whatever. SerialATA may go up to 160, but hey, guess what? It will never reach that if PCI is stuck at the theoretical maximum of 133 (that's theoretical - it will also never reach that).

Case in point, why do you think U160 SCSI host controllers have jumpers and connections to 66 MHZ PCI busses? Because unlike ATA, two SCSI drives can easily saturate simple PCI and need next gen hardware to supply adequate headroom.

If you still think your hard drive is running anywhere near 100MB/sec, go do a google search for HD Tach. You'll see your HD is barely hitting half that at its fastest, and probably much lower sustained.

Available at retail in April...

n0where @ 1/10/2003 1:00:10 AM #
Weren't we all expecting the 256MB cards last April? I remember the rumours posted here or somewhere else. And I thought even Sony had told us to expect them in 2002.

I think they are a little late with this stuff. 1GB looks great, but how many people will buy them at that price.

But the real killer will be the lack of products that use MS Pro or even the regular MS.

I have been reading through the MS Update newsletters for a while and it is usually the same old stuff. Sony products plus a few odds and ends of things from other companies.

The next time NPD Intelect, IDC or whoever comes out with data I don't think we will see the numbers that we saw before. SD will be more than the 'ripple' it was, CF

This is not just about memory cards for handhelds. There is a lot more too it: many devices including digita cameras, DV camcorders, music players, notebook/tablet pcs, Linux/Pocket PC PDAs... And many non-memory cards.

The next time NPD Inetelect or IDC or whoever comes out with data I don't think we will see the numbers that we saw before. SD will be more than the 'ripple' it was.

The writing is on the wall, but I will hold off until April when the larger cards even start shipping to start using the word 'BetaStick' again.

RE: Available at retail in April...
M3wThr33 @ 1/10/2003 4:47:54 AM #
$880 buys me a used laptop with a 5GB harddrive and a bigger battery

I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation. We're in space.
RE: Available at retail in April...
hkklife @ 1/10/2003 9:26:02 AM #
Shoot, laptops are getting to the point where you can get a new one with a 15 (or larger) gb hard drive and 256 mb ram....not to mention a huge active matrix screen. About 6 years ago, I said that it take another decade for laptop prices to fall to under $1000. Looks like I was way off!

Why I don't like MS....

mcramer @ 1/10/2003 5:37:08 AM #
.... or any media that doesn't have a contolling subsystem built into the card.

This happened with the 128MB Smartmedia cards as well - loads of cameras that accessed 64MB cards OK couldn't take the larger capacity cards :(

Software patch? Maybe, but it still irks me that we should have to......... now if we could just get a CF driver written that would fix my problem ;)

RE: Why I don't like MS....
orb2069 @ 1/11/2003 4:58:37 PM #
A driver is going to fix the fact that you buy hardware that uses vendor-locked standards?

Memory sticks selling well!

staceym @ 1/10/2003 6:01:11 AM #
"Memory Stick sales are expanding steadily with cumulative shipments of Memory Stick media reaching 30 million as of October 2002"

Well of course, we are forced to buy them. What other option do I have if I want to expand the memory of my Sony Device?

I'm not bitter.

Come on Sony, swallow your pride.

Not compatible with earlier devices...

RSC @ 1/10/2003 6:45:07 PM #
>Only Sony?s Palm OS 5 handhelds including the NX and NZ series are compatible with Memory Stick Pro.

I guess the rest of us are SOL...

Not compatible with earlier devices...
ishore @ 1/11/2003 9:45:01 AM #
I am upset as I have a T665 and need a modem to connect back to my office. So now they are not going to let us have the new Memory Stick or a Wireless communtication either... just buy a new NX and get it all... my Clie is only 3 months old.....

New MS is a Slap to early adopters

TrafficGeek @ 1/11/2003 12:52:07 PM #
Okay, I'm an early adapter. I'm here at CES and had a long conversation with the Memorysticks Pro folks. I am completely disgusted with how Sony is handling the transition to MS-Pro. I own multiple devices with Memory Sticks slots since I only want to maintain one type of flash memory. I want the larger capacity MS for my MS Network Walkman and my Digital Camera in addition to my Clie and for use on my PC as a file transfer medium.

This hope for uniformity all faded when I inserted the Memory Stick Pro into my T-615 and it doesn't even show up. I guess I should be glad it didn't crash my device. My conversations with them show that there's no way the MS-Pro will work with my camera, my computer, and my Walkman. The switch on the 256mb MS is a stupid idea. They REALLY expect people to pull the MS out, swath to another memory bank when using it in a camera or network Walkman? And to do the reverse when reading it back? Come on, who did the market survey for THAT usability feature? Additionally, instead of two types of MS (Purple MS and MG MS) there will now be:
-Standard (128mb max) Memory Stick
-Standard (128mb max) MG Memory Stick
-High Capacity Memory Stick (The Silly Switch stick)
-Memory Stick Pro
-Memory Stick Duo
-MG Memory Stick Duo

As I walk the show floor I took an informal survey of the other Sony Licensees to see who have devices that supported the MS Pro. None - Even thought some of them were present at the MS Pavilion, the devices shown there do not support the new formats. It is unknown if they'll be updated later since the reps on the floor don't have that information.

Sony have very good designs for their Consumer line, but this memory stick silliness is hurting them. Frankly it's offensive to early adapter who have loyally helped them promote the Purple Betamax. They're doing great marketing for the SD card.

Sony Marketing and CNet article

TrafficGeek @ 1/12/2003 2:36:06 AM #
Remember the CNet article from a week or so ago breaking the news that the new Memory Stick will not be compatible with older device? Sony responded by telling everyone to wait for the office press release to correct the inaccurate statement.

...which part of that press release was incorrect? The new Memory Stick isn't compatible with older devices? Was this an out right deception on their part? With the exception of the memory switch, that article was right on the mark.

RE: Sony Marketing and CNet article
robrecht @ 1/12/2003 10:22:04 AM #
SONY's behavior is indefensible with anyone who has followed the story. Their hope seems to be that there are very few of us who really care, and they are probably right. Your average electronics sales person at CompUSA, CircuitCity, or BestBuy does not seem to know the difference between CF I and CF II, or between USB 1.0 and USB 2.0, let alone MagicGate memory sticks and "regular" memory sticks. SONY will continue to increase market share and profits--that's all they care about, it seems.

Thanks, Robrecht
RE: Sony Marketing and CNet article
TrafficGeek @ 1/13/2003 12:53:36 AM #
All they're doing is spreading confusion amongst consumers. Someone would try to insert a new memory stick into an older device (like the TV on that commerical) and realized that they've been taken for a ride.

All they're doing is tarnishing their own reputation. Sort of like kicking youself in the behind. Stupid.

They could of fixed the problem but failed...

jbeedham @ 1/12/2003 7:57:33 PM #
It looks like the new memory stick pro will max out at 32GB. I know this seems a lot right now but I would hate to be in the same situation 5 years from now when we will be wanting 64GB sticks or something larger. I'm sorry but I think I will pass on this one.

What is wrong with palm manufacturers these days? They should develop a springboard like expansion slot so we can switch out what kind of memory we use, etc. It sure would be awesome to be able to use xd memory in a handheld. Any handheld.



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