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Rumor: New Memory Sticks on the Way

News.com is reporting that Sony is close to unveiling a new, higher-capacity Memory Stick removable flash memory card. Sources say the new sticks may not be compatible with some older devices. The working title for the new capacity cards is Memory Stick Pro. This is not to be confused with the separate, smaller (next generation) memory stick Duo.

Expected to be unveiled at January’s Consumer Electronics Show, the new Sticks may uses a different architecture to achieve higher capacities than the original memory stick. Current MS cards top out at 128MB, but the new cards will come in 256MB, 512MB and 1GB capacities. The new cards are also designed to allow for higher performance levels than the previous card format, so devices should be better able to perform high-end functions, such as playing streaming video.

When asked about the details of the news.com article and on the claim that the "memory stick pro" will not be compatible with older devices, a Sony PR Spokesperson said, "It (the news.com article) is inaccurate and based on rumor."

Sony previously 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. There is no word yet on price or when they will be available in other countries.

Memory Stick Duo c/o News.comA 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. 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.

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.

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According to Sony's Dedicated Memory Stick Site...

mashoutposse @ 12/12/2002 6:42:40 PM #
...new cards that are capable of transfer speeds up to 20MB/sec are in the works (up from 2.5MB/sec of the current Sticks):

"Because Memory Stick uses flash memory, it offers high-speed data transfer. Currently, the maximum speed is 2.5MB/s. Anticipating wider use of rich content, such as music and video, the technology up to 20MB/s is under development."

http://www.memorystick.com/en/ms/features.html#03

RE: According to Sony's Dedicated Memory Stick Site...
blue9 @ 12/12/2002 7:33:14 PM #
Will these new/larger capacity cards worh with the $500 Clie NX I bought recently? :-|

RE: According to Sony's Dedicated Memory Stick Site...
mashoutposse @ 12/12/2002 7:44:12 PM #
It should: According to various sources within Sony, the CNET article is inaccurate... Brighthand and ClieSource spoke to Sony as well and got the same response.

RE: According to Sony's Dedicated Memory Stick Site...
abosco @ 12/12/2002 8:07:45 PM #
"It should: According to various sources within Sony, the CNET article is inaccurate... Brighthand and ClieSource spoke to Sony as well and got the same response."

Oh thank god! It says that it may not work with older Clies, but the NX is hardly old! I wonder what the NX has that the older Clies don't? Possibly something in OS 5?

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This signature is witty. You like it.

How can I use these memory sticks other than expansion
musnat @ 12/16/2002 2:03:46 PM #
Hi, I am wondering whether is it possible to use these memory sticks like removable storage devices. Like you take your Sony Clie and the memory stick to another computer and the other computer without having HotSync installed or any other special software, recognizes the memory stick as a removable hard drive and mount it automatically. Is that possible? Can you post some links regarding this.

Thanks

RE: According to Sony's Dedicated Memory Stick Site...
robrecht @ 12/16/2002 3:45:02 PM #
Absolutely. You just need a card reader. There are several multi-card readers that seem useful for using SONY Memory Sticks in this way as well as several other memory cards (eg, CompactFlash, Secure Digital, etc). Best Buy sells a USB 2.0 P-N-Y multicard reader for $50. Elsewhere in response to this article someone comments favorably about the USB 2.0 Imation multicard reader over the Dazzle USB 1.0 model. It would be interesting to hear of anyone else's experience with these and other readers on the market.

Thanks, Robrecht
We'll find out on January 9th
Palm_Otaku @ 12/19/2002 2:32:45 PM #
Full details on the new Memory Sticks will probably be available on January 9th - Sony will be holding a MS Press Conference at CES in Las Vegas that day.

My guess is that the larger format MS will use FAT32 instead of the current FAT12, and from checking their "MS Roadmap" it looks like the larger capacities will only be available in the MagicGate (white) format.

Cheers,

Dan

this sucks

mj6798 @ 12/12/2002 7:10:53 PM #
I have a Sony digital camera, and the fact that it uses overpriced and limited capacity memory stick is bad enough. Now, Sony comes out with another format that's incompatible.

As far as I'm concerned, the only flash memory formats we need are CompactFlash and SD/MMC. The former is for really large capacities and complex expansion cards, and the latter is for general storage and expansion cards that can be made really small. As a bonus, if handhelds got a USB controller, we could connect external USB drives.

Sony brings nothing to the table with its memory sticks that I would want.

Read First, Post Second.
mashoutposse @ 12/12/2002 7:15:19 PM #
From the above article:

"When asked about the details of the news.com article and on the claim that the "memory stick pro" will not be compatible with older devices, a Sony PR Spokesperson said, 'It (the news.com article) is inaccurate and based on rumor.'"

RE: this sucks
ska @ 12/12/2002 8:17:08 PM #
So it's C|net secret source or Ed's from brighthand mysterious Sony spokesman. Great. Neither have the guts to print real name.

Isn't this big enough problem for Sony that the spokes person can be quoted on the record?


RE: Read First, Post Second.
Admin @ 12/12/2002 8:26:35 PM #
The sony Rep I spoke with name was Rob. He is only allowed to relay to me Sony's postition on the matter. So posting his name with the statement really isnt critical to the story.
RE: this sucks
ska @ 12/12/2002 10:41:39 PM #
So secretive, Why doesn't Sony just come out in the open and say. No it's not true. End of story.

....but than again, maybe drama does sell, some sort of marketing ploy.

RE: this sucks
mashoutposse @ 12/12/2002 11:03:50 PM #
According to Brighthand's Sony source, he said that the true details will make the CNet article look "foolish."

Don't be surprised when Sony announces that they have managed to make these Sticks completely backwards-compatible.

RE: this sucks
hkklife @ 12/13/2002 9:21:40 AM #
What I do not understand (aside from profits, greed, cheapness, lack of foresight and more greed) is WHY the removable media market is so fraught with problems in regards to increasing size?

WIth Smartmedia, where the controller resides in the device instead of on the chip, this problem is somewhat understandable-hence the moniker of "StupidMedia".

However, with the more recent memory formats--MS & MMC/SD, this proves to be distressing--ESPECIALLY with Sony's closed, prporietary Memory Stick format. They really have no reasonable excuse to switch over to a new MS format (assuming the article above is true). I don't actually think the memory stick form factor is going away anytime soon, as I posed a few weeks here in another discussion, I have seen a slew of 32"+ Sony Wega TVs in the shops lately with a built in MS slot. Seeing as how a television is replaced, on average, every 7-10 years at minimum, I'd think Sony is counting on the format being around for a reasonably long time. What I'd like to know is if there has been some upgrade to the innards of recent(ish) Sony devices (in all categories) that permits them to access the faster/larger Memory Sticks.

My father's almost 3 year old Sony F55 2.0 mpixel digicam, I am almost certain, will be shut out from any higher capacities in the future ,despite what Sony has been promising us all this time.

I really wish the industry as a whole would experience a huge shakeout and leave only CF and SD (not MMC) behind to make things simpler. Since we continue to get more and more formats (XD, MS Duo) that offer NOTHING of benefit at the present time except for smaller sizes that are easily lost. Consumers are forced to pay more money for a less practical card with the dreadful 128 mb ceiling and dog-slow throughput speeds. SD has actually surprised me with its rapid ascent to higher capacities, but the cost is still relatlvely prohibitive compared to CF.

RE: this sucks
robman @ 12/13/2002 10:29:59 AM #
Whether or not the controller is inside the device (SmartMedia) or inside the media (Compact Flash, SD) or (as I understand it) a little of both (MemoryStick) it just seems very easy to design memory cards that will be expandable to ridiculous sizes. The dialogue would go something like:

Controller: How big are you?
Memory Card: I'm THIS big!
Controller: Here's the fastest speed at which I can communicate.
Memory Card: Okay. What would you like to do first?

Why is this so hard to do? I don't understand.


Palm Researcher at the University of Texas at Austin
http://www.edb.utexas.edu/petrosino/pda

RE: this sucks
mj6798 @ 12/13/2002 3:47:37 PM #
Whether or not they manage to cobble together some sort of backwards compatibility, the fact remains that MemorySticks are overpriced, more cumbersome than MMC/SD, and that they are proprietary. And there are three different versions of it now.

The fact also remains that Sony is really late in coming out with large capacities: SD/MMC is getting up to 1Gbyte, and CF is getting up to 3 Gbyte.

We don't need MemoryStick, and in my book, it remains a strong negative for any Sony device.

RE: this sucks
macshimidh @ 12/13/2002 5:15:24 PM #
That's funny, the reason I like Memory Sticks is their price ($40 for 128M). While Sony does control the format, it has been embraced by enough other manufacturers to keep prices competitive. As for their being "cumbersome," having to deal with a card the size of a stick of gum rather than the size of a postage stamp has never been an inconvenience to me.

Amyway, to each his/her own :-)

128 MB under $30
robrecht @ 12/13/2002 5:39:23 PM #
After a rebate and with the use of a promo code (MAPPCTBANK35), some people have been getting 128 MB SanDisk Memory Sticks for $27.61

Thanks, Robrecht
RE: this sucks
robrecht @ 12/13/2002 5:41:07 PM #
Sorry, at Amazon and with free shipping.

Thanks, Robrecht
RE: this sucks
mj6798 @ 12/14/2002 7:07:29 AM #
When 64Mbyte/128Mbyte was state of the art, MemoryStick was twice as expensive as other comparable flash formats. Now, of course, those capacities are so outdated that the price differential has decreased, but it's still there to some degree.

When the large capacity MemorySticks come out, you can bet that Sony will be charging a large premium over other offerings again.

RE: this sucks
mashoutposse @ 12/14/2002 1:07:32 PM #
"When 64Mbyte/128Mbyte was state of the art, MemoryStick was twice as expensive as other comparable flash formats."

It is also physically three times as small as the other formats. In addition, when SD came out, it commanded even higher premiums than Memory Stick (rightfully so, I guess).

RE: this sucks
Take1 @ 12/14/2002 4:04:51 PM #
10-1 the new sony sticks will be compatible for Palm PDAs, but won't have the fast transfer rate and be stuck at the 2.5 MB/Sec -- a patch will be needed for them to work, but they will work.

OR...

The new memsticks will require a convertor which will cause the new mem sticks to stick out of the unit by about 1/2".

OR...

They won't be compatible at all and Sony will release a new NX series in 2 months which is exactly the same as the one we have now, but with a mem stick slot designed for the new mem cards.

RE: this sucks
fleegle @ 12/15/2002 1:36:38 AM #
"It [the MemoryStick] is also physically three times as small as the other formats."

Au contraire, two of those "other formats" are SD and MMC. Their size is roughly 1.25 x .94 inches. Compared to the MemoryStick, which is 1.97 x .85 inches, I would say the Memory stick is twice as big as the SD/MC format.



RE: this sucks
mashoutposse @ 12/15/2002 6:51:20 AM #
fleegle:

Here is the quote I replied to:

"When 64Mbyte/128Mbyte was state of the art, MemoryStick was twice as expensive as other comparable flash formats."

Please note that SD was even more expensive than Memory Stick at this time, as well.

RE: this sucks
cbowers @ 12/18/2002 12:04:05 PM #
"a Sony PR Spokesperson said, 'It (the news.com article) is inaccurate and based on rumor.'"

I guess it's *all* rumor until they finally announce. Until there's a product announcement I don't see the point in some anonymous hinters saying that their answer is any less rumor than anothers.

16MB RAM and 1GB MS/SD?

Gekko @ 12/12/2002 7:12:47 PM #
Does anyone else think there's something wrong with this picture?



RE: 16MB RAM and 1GB MS/SD?
abosco @ 12/12/2002 8:12:18 PM #
Why do people keep asking for more internal memory? Is VFS support not good enough these days? It's in almost ALL applications these days, and it's fast. Watching movies off the card is incredible, and if it's that fast, what's the problem?

---
This signature is witty. You like it.
RE: 16MB RAM and 1GB MS/SD?
masitti @ 12/12/2002 10:07:46 PM #
Most PDA users don't need more than 16 MB of RAM... for those who do, they have the option of expansion features. :)

------------------------
Mario Masitti
O/T Mod
I Love Tennis :)
512MB RAM & 80GB Hard Drives...
mashoutposse @ 12/12/2002 10:17:15 PM #
...is there something wrong with this picture?

Anyway, as stated above, the movement towards software development that relies on external storage is already well underway. In fact, with these faster sticks, we will likely see future devices that use RAM in a much more PC-like manner, with a smaller & smaller percentage of the space dedicated to actual applications/database storage. More like a huge cache, accepting chunks of an application from the slower external cards as needed to keep performance at an acceptable level -- in this way, you could run bigger & better programs, since theoretically, each 'chunk' can be almost as large as the entire RAM itself (this is how regular PC development is in a nutshell). We're already seeing it with the NX... Try running the Clie NX70V's NetFront browser on the Tungsten T, with its relatively small 768k of dynamic heap -- without that huge 4MB 'cache' of the NX, it's practically unusable!

RE: 16MB RAM and 1GB MS/SD?
GKreamer @ 12/13/2002 10:25:51 AM #
I don't know if I would go as far as to say that users do not need more than 16MB of RAM... The more RAM the better- would program execution always be faster in RAM vs. expansion memory?

George

RE: 16MB RAM and 1GB MS/SD?
robrecht @ 12/13/2002 10:56:39 AM #
But doesn't too much RAM cause more battery drain, which is such a critical issue with SONY?

"too much RAM," can't believe I said that!

Thanks, Robrecht

RE: 16MB RAM and 1GB MS/SD?
ganoe @ 12/13/2002 11:16:51 AM #
> would program execution always be faster in RAM vs. expansion memory?

Programs don't execute in expansion memory, they get copied to system RAM just like they do on your home PC. Expansion RAM is simply a storage mechanism, just like your hard drive. It is not really possible to use it any other way.

RE: 16MB RAM and 1GB MS/SD?
Fly-By-Night @ 12/13/2002 11:51:46 AM #
Seems all right to me. My desktop PC only has 768Mb RAM compared to an 80Gb hard drive (not to mention other storage methods). That's a ratio of roughly 1:104. 16Mb RAM to 1Gb MS/SD is a ratio of (roughly) 1:62. Needless to say, my PC copes!

FBN

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Ceci n'est pas une signature.

RE: 16MB RAM and 1GB MS/SD?
hotpaw4 @ 12/13/2002 2:08:33 PM #
Note that PalmOS handhelds really only have 32 kB (Pilot 1000) to 2 MB (NX) of fully program usable RAM. The rest is locked up in the storage heap, which acts like more like a pseudo-flash-ROM (fast reads, very slow writes via OS calls) than like the RAM in your PC.

However you look at it, DRAM requires more power. That's the implication of the "D" in "DRAM". To get lower power, one either uses SRAM or flash (or more exotic technologies).

I could easily see a super low-power Palm designed with only 1 MB of SRAM for the OS and apps (same as the TT uses), another 1 MB of SRAM "disk" cache plus 16 MB of fast-flash memory to emulate the old DRAM storage heap, and 1 GB of slow flash, on-board or in a slot.

RE: 16MB RAM and 1GB MS/SD?
hkklife @ 12/13/2002 2:15:48 PM #
Yes, but unless you are running some sort of ramdisk type setup, your PC's main ram, even after windows loads and hogs a nice chunk of it, still remains to dynamically load and unload applications as needed.

On a 16mb Palm, when you've got a ton of poorly-written apps that don't support VFS/external storage (Avantgo, Acrobat, many games etc), you have to use that ram space for storage--not just for program execution. Furthermore, notice how on some Palms, such as the T|T, the 16mb of ram actually translates into 14.x usable megabytes of free memory. Desktop PCs also have things like swap files etc to help out when on a Palm it's far simpler--you've got your main ram and that's *it*. So, as always, more IS better.


Also, on the issue of OS5 and games, now that actual sounds are being included in the .prc files of many newer games, that Ram is going to be gobbled up even more quickly. As much as I like high-res and whatnot, the creeping bloat of Palm app sizes is beginning to worry me, as long as the prices of large SD cards remains relatively high and internal ram continues to be crippled by the 16 mb ceiling.


RE: 16MB RAM and 1GB MS/SD?
ganoe @ 12/13/2002 3:32:06 PM #
> So, as always, more IS better.

Well, unless we want to end up with a bigger mess than Pocket PC, getting the Palm application developers to clean up their apps IS better.

there is no RAM expansion for handhelds
mj6798 @ 12/13/2002 4:51:46 PM #
"Most PDA users don't need more than 16 MB of RAM... for those who do, they have the option of expansion features. :)"

I don't know of a single handheld that allows you to expand its RAM. The "memory expansion" you stick into the various slots is not RAM, it's Flash.

Many handhelds, however, use RAM as virtual disks, so expanding RAM and sticking in a Flash card are quite similar.

Do people need more than 16Mbyte of RAM? Depends on the application. There are some applications that absolutely demand it; some applications aren't easily ported to the Palm, for example, because of its limited memory. But if you are only going to use the extra RAM as a virtual disk anyway, you might as well use Flash.

RE: 16MB RAM and 1GB MS/SD?
hotpaw4 @ 12/13/2002 5:54:19 PM #
>Furthermore, notice how on some Palms, such as the T|T, the 16mb of ram actually translates into 14.x usable megabytes of free memory.

Nope. There is only around 700 kB of free application usable memory on a Tungsten T . The OS uses another 300 kB, for a 1 MB dynamic heap total. This leaves 14+ MB available for database storage; but this isn't free memory, this is simulated flash-ROM (fast reads, slow OS-mediated writes). Since database records are all less than 64k, there's no reason why the database storage can't be cached (as some VFS "hacks" have shown).

Almost no one uses a RAMDisk on their PC anymore. Instead there's usually a disk cache and virtual memory management as part of the OS. All saved data is stored on disk.

RE: 16MB RAM and 1GB MS/SD?
timewaster77 @ 12/15/2002 12:19:54 PM #
"On a 16mb Palm, when you've got a ton of poorly-written apps that don't support VFS/external storage (Avantgo, Acrobat, many games etc), you have to use that ram space for storage--not just for program execution." This is completely true. Many games can't be transferred to external storage, but they are generally small. I have Adobe Acrobat for Palm OS on my Clie's Memory Stick and it runs fine. As for Avantago, they should definitely support VFS.

Happy Sony Clie User
RE: 16MB RAM and 1GB MS/SD?
JKingGrim @ 12/16/2002 4:34:49 PM #
>>But doesn't too much RAM cause more battery drain, >>which is such a critical issue with SONY?

Here's my opinion in a nut shell. The whole internal storage method needs to be rethought. Internal RAM requires a constant power feed, but cards do not. Handheld makers need to replace typical RAM storage with a card-like memory structure. This would work wonders for batterry life and would reduce rediculous problems like batteries running out even if you don't touch your Palm.

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