Sony Introduces One Inch Removable CF Microdrives

Sony Electronics is introducing the new Sony Microdrive, a one-inch removable hard disk drive that will meet the increasing storage needs of many portable digital devices such as digital cameras and PDAs. The CF+ Type II interface cards will come in 2 and 4GB capacities.

Designed to fit the Compact Flash+ Type II interface, Sony Microdrive offers a cost-effective solution for expanding consumer storage needs such as high-resolution digital photos and MPEG video. Microdrive also features a high-performance 97.9 Mbps data transfer rate to accommodate rapid shooting and moving picture data. It has approximate dimensions of 1.75 inches wide x 1.5 inches high.

The Sony Microdrives will be available in 2 GB and 4 GB capacities. Both are compatible to the Compact Flash+ Type II Standard. With a PC adapter, the Microdrive can also be used in devices that have a PC card type II slot such as a HandEra, Sony Clie NZ90, or NX series.

The Sony 2 GB Microdrive (Model RHMD2G) is available now for a suggested retail price of $179, and the 4 GB Microdrive (Model RHMD4G) is available for a suggested retail price of $279.

"As consumer data storage needs become more diverse and demanding, we aim to provide a full range of removable storage solutions," said Michael Lucas, director of consumer and convergent media for Sony Electronics' Media and Applications Solutions Division. "Many consumers are expecting a lot more from their devices, and Microdrive adds another format to our line of high performance media solutions that will help carry these devices to the next level of applications."

Thanks to for the tip.

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What's the point?

batmon @ 11/23/2004 1:40:42 AM #
RE: What's the point?
robman @ 11/23/2004 5:02:34 AM #
And on top of that:

Why is Sony continuing to produce memory that does not go inside a memory stick? Is this actually a sign they are going to dump their anti-consumer propietary format anytime soon? (Answer: of course not)

What does this have to do with Palm PDAs? The only PalmOS devices I know of with a CF slot is the aging Handera 330 and a few of the discontinued Sony N-series machines.

Slow news day, Ryan? :-)

Palm Enthusiast since 1998

RE: What's the point?
Wolfgard @ 11/23/2004 6:07:04 AM #
Some Sony Clies do have CF slots like the NX70 and 80. They should be able to use the microdrives.

pen & paper -> m515 -> Zire72 -> TH55
RE: What's the point?
Strider_mt2k @ 11/23/2004 10:41:52 AM #
Don't forget, there are alot of digital cameras that take CF.

Sony's making new stuff. So what, that's bad?

They could be used in some existing handheld devices, so why not feature the story?

I can see the same amount of people crying over it NOT being covered and Ryan accused of not covering it to help boost P1 or some other such nonsense.

RE: What's the point?
robman @ 11/23/2004 10:53:37 AM #
>Don't forget, there are alot of digital cameras that take CF.

True, but this is PalmInfocenter, not DigitalCameraInfocenter.

>Sony's making new stuff. So what, that's bad?

I have always contended that propietary memory formats are anti-consumer, like the Sony Memory Stick. But this new microdrive uses CF, which is relatively open and widely accessible. I thought Sony was really committed to the MS line, so I am surprised. Does this release mean anything, or just that Sony is disorganized on their corporate philosophy?

>They could be used in some existing handheld devices, so why not >feature the story?

True, in the ancient Handera 330 and a couple of discontinued Sony models.

I was just surprised to see it, as it seems only peripherally related to the Palm platform.

Palm Enthusiast since 1998

RE: What's the point?
Admin @ 11/23/2004 11:26:32 AM #
I'm trying to publish more stories of interest. I take it you guys don't want to hear about new memory storage products? ;) Gotta cover them all.
RE: What's the point?
dsm363 @ 11/23/2004 11:33:32 AM #
I think this story is fine. Thanks.

RE: What's the point?
rsuplido @ 11/23/2004 12:28:57 PM #
A Palm OS reason: Come to think of it, I think these new microdrives will run on the Clie VZ90. ;)


RE: What's the point?
Puppy @ 11/23/2004 3:54:02 PM #
I like that the story was posted, but I do have to think "what's the point" in terms of why Sony is doing this. They're selling these for basically the same price as Flash Memory. Are they faster? Can't see any other point to it.

Oh well, it never hurts to have more options in the marketplace.

RE: What's the point?
tooele @ 11/23/2004 5:28:10 PM #
I think this is an interesting story and I enjoyed reading it. I only wish sony or someone would make an SD microdrive.

Tungsten T3 + T610
Thanks for the update, Ryan
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 11/23/2004 10:41:41 PM #
While I prefer solid state memory for reliability and durability, it's interesting to see what else is out there. I'm also not sure who would buy these - you can get very large CompactFlash cards pretty cheap these days. (1 GB for as low as $60 and ranges up to 4 and 8 GB sizes.

This is probably just something Sony had in development a while ago and they're releasing it to try and recoup development costs, even though it's already been made redundant by regular CF cards.

Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

Give SanDisk one more year...

MoveableTech51 @ 11/23/2004 10:13:41 AM #
Leave it to Sony to be ahead of everbody in technology... HA HA!

Even money odds that SD cards will be up to 4 Gig capacity by next year, and better still; retail at $99.

I Don'T Get It, Why Bother???

ScottGG @ 11/23/2004 10:24:45 AM #
First Sony has pulled out of the PDA Market leaving all of the UX Lines dead. Now they want us to buy and use this drive (With moving parts) for the older Sony PDA's. I'm sorry but Sony's R&D need to ge their heads out of theirs Arshes. Hellooooo!!!! Sony, your out in left field....

I had to go back to Palm infact waiting on my Treo 650 to arrive today...We need a company who is standing behind a product, Not one who kills off a whole line.

Hey Sony!!!!!! Go SQUAT!!!!!!!

Remember the "dominant" Sony?

alexp @ 11/23/2004 10:47:22 AM #
There was a time on these boards that Sony could do no wrong...the N760C, the T615C, the NR-70V, the T665C...*sigh* where those days have gone...

As ubiquitous as Sony has become, they will eventually be forced to shrink in the US. They're out of PDAs. MiniDisc is a colossal failure in the US. Their Network Walkman mp3 player is a bust. This microdrive is doomed from the start simply in how far behind it is. And don't even get me started on the PS2's continuing demise at the hands of the X-Box.

RE: Remember the
Puppy @ 11/23/2004 3:51:53 PM #
Uh...I was kind of with you there until the "Demise of the PS2" bit. The X-Box has carved out a niche for itself, but it's not causing the demise of anything. Sony's marketshare of the "big" consoles is scary.

Non Memory Stick Media

Admin @ 11/23/2004 11:45:44 AM #
BTW - Isn't it funny that Sony is releasing non-Memory Stick memory? What does that tell you?


RE: Non Memory Stick Media
ganoe @ 11/23/2004 12:18:06 PM #
Actually, I find it strange that Sony is introducing removable microdrive media at least a year after other companies (IBM, etc.) seem to have given up on it.
RE: Non Memory Stick Media
rsuplido @ 11/23/2004 12:27:27 PM #
Well, I think Sony is hinting that an F828 replacement is coming. ;)


RE: Non Memory Stick Media
LiveFaith @ 11/23/2004 1:12:43 PM #
THANK YOU for the story relating around another Palm OS memory solution. I once heard it said "There's no way to keep all the sheep from wandering away, but you can keep them so fat that they can't get thru the fence". In other words, keeping the related goodies keeps the "herd" @ home.

I don't assume to know Sony's philosophy. But concerning the use of CF over M$ is surely a matter of form factors. Packing a hard drive into the thickness of a M$ would be interesting. CF are probably 2x thicker or more.

My question about this is ... what is the point of a microdrive over a 4GB CF memory card? Is x-fer faster? Seems as if it would be more power-hungry and delicate? I may be wrong on both. Amazing Tech nonetheless.

Pat Horne;

RE: Non Memory Stick Media
LiveFaith @ 11/23/2004 1:25:31 PM #

Why would this hint at a replacement on a digicam which uses CF or M$?

Pat Horne;

RE: Non Memory Stick Media
hkklife @ 11/23/2004 1:26:47 PM #
I've said it before and I'll say it again:

The semi-failure of MS to become entrenched in the marketplace is not so much the near-exclusivity with Sony products (yes, I know a few Minolta & Samsung products use it) but rather in the confusing flurry of various types Sony has heaped onto consumers:

MS, MS Select, MS PRo, MS Duo, MS Duo Pro, the varying flavors of MagicGate and then the new black & gold "ultra speed" Memory Sticks. Ugh. And we used to think 3.3v and 5v SmartMedia or Type I, II, and III CF was bad.

Sony should have just introduced the MS Pro from the get-go AND avoided the colossal mistake of not having a MS slot on the PS2. Had they simply done that (MS mind you, not MG) you could have a ton o' saved games on a single MS instead of spread across numerous 8mb PS2 memory cards (though one old-style PS card slot could have been retained for PSOne games). Then families who got a PS2 for the kids for Christmas '00 or '01 would have been far more inclined to purchase a Sony digicam for Christmas '02 or '03. What a mind-boggling oversight and a true pity that the warring factions within Sony cannot come to any sort of cooperative agreement. Look at the delay in the PS2 DVD remote!

SD is still hanging in there very well from a price/performance standpoint and is all I will continue to use for the forseeable future, especially if prices for 2gb cards hit $100 within a year or two.

That said, I see the "big" MS fading away slowly and Sony putting their faith into the various flavors of MS Duo. I do not see them jumping on the SD bandwagon but they could seemingly abandon MS in a few years when the next new flash storage format is proposed. I'd personally like to see the market settle down to just CF, SD and TF or mini-SD but that's just me.

RE: Non Memory Stick Media
robman @ 11/23/2004 2:03:47 PM #
I believe that one day there will be exactly ONE format for memory cards (regardless of whether or not they contain hard drives). But that standard will have to be:

1) Open and accessible to everyone, with minimal or no licensing costs.

2) Use an open-ended negotation protocol that determines transfer rate and device size, making the standard completly future proof so that there is NO size/transfer rate barriers.

3) Have a physical and software interlock, so that you can only remove the card when it's safe to do so, but that you can remove a card almost instantly during a transfer with a smooth handling of partial data.

4) Either be very small (the volume of SD or an old MS), or permit developers flexibility in a single dimension if they want to produce longer cards.

5) Come with built in, high-quality, always-on user-driven encryption.

6) Have no Digital Rights Management, so that users can share data freely.

Yes, this is possible. Yes, other data storage standards have arisen that meet many of these goals. Yes, it will be a long, long time.

Palm Enthusiast since 1998

RE: Non Memory Stick Media
JonAcheson @ 11/24/2004 11:12:38 AM #
I wouldn't read anything into this re: Sony's support of memory sticks.

The fact is, the drive won't fit in a memory stick. That's all, nothing more to see.

"All opinions posted are my own, and not those of my employers, who are appalled."

More oppinions in my blog

Tamog @ 11/24/2004 2:51:55 AM #
I have a little blog online where I have posted an article about that stuff. I think that hard disks are coming out big on the Palm handheld pretty soon!
Find more Info on

Did Sony even make these?

orb2069 @ 11/25/2004 12:27:19 PM #
I mean, they seem to look a lot like">IBM's Microdrives, right down to the label being beveled on the same corner.

I think a safer bet is that Sony had to buy a large quantity of these in order to secure a steady supply - Maybe for their handheld PC hardware - and are just selling the units at a profit because they have them lying around. And they are certainly making a profit -">PriceWatch shows new 4GB microdrives @ $205 with a $50 rebate...

Sony ripping people off - Nothing new to see here, really.

1000->Personal->IRUpgrade->TRGPro->HE330->Treo 180



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