Memory Stick Duo Coming in July (Updated)
Sony has announced that the long-awaited Memory Stick Duo will be released in Japan in July. Duos are about a third the size of regular Memory Sticks. The first ones will be 16 MB with larger capacities coming later. There is no word yet on price or when they will be available in other countries.
The smaller slots required for the smaller cards could allow Sony to further reduce the size of its handhelds. However, Sony primarily designed the Duo to be used in devices even smaller than handhelds, like MP3 players. There will be an adapter that allows current handhelds to use the new format cards.
Update: The Duo Memory Stick format isn't a replacement for regular Memory Sticks; Sony will continue to make both through at least 2005. In addition, it projects that regular Memory Sticks will outsell Duo ones for the foreseeable future.
Later this year or early next year, Sony hopes to have Memory Stick Duos up to 128 MB. It hopes to have 1 GB regular Memory Sticks by that same time. In 2004, Sony believes it will have 2 GB Memory Sticks and 1 GB Duos. The year after, it hopes to release 4 GB Memory Sticks.
A Duo card is 1.2 by .80 by .06 inches. It weighs .07 ounces. A regular Memory Stick is 2.0 by .85 by .11 inches and weighs .14 ounces.
Sony will also make Magic Gate versions of the Duo sticks. These will include extra security features which allow users to store ATRAC3 files on them.
Sony is also working on the Memory Stick-ROM, which is a read only version. These will cost less than regular Memory Sticks and be used to distribute digital content, like music.
The company has had a fair amount of success with the Memory Stick format. According to NPD Intellect, Memory Sticks accounted for 22% of memory card sales last year in the U.S. However, this is well behind CompactFlash, with 42% and SmartMedia with 31%. On the other hand, it is well ahead of SD, which had only 1.8%.
Thanks to xumdeo and all the others for the tips. Thanks to popko for his help with this article. -Ed
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