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More Memory Stick Expansion Modules Planned

Sony has plans to release several Memory Stick expansion modules this year. In addition to the Bluetooth Infostick covered recently, they have also developed working prototypes of digital camera, GPS and fingerprint recognition modules which are planned for market introduction in 2001.

The camera module is 3 x .94 x .6 inches at .44 ounces and is equipped with a 100,000-pixel CMOS image sensor capable of taking 332 x 288 pixel photos, though they don't say in what format. The GPS module is 4.4 x 1.2 x .45 inches and 1 ounce and has a 16-channel parallel receiver.

The fingerprint recognition module uses biometrics technology to recognize the fingerprint of the authentic user for secure authorization of electronic transactions and access to protected information. It is 2 x .84 x .11 inches and weighs .14 ounces. It has a false rejection rate less than 1% and a false acceptance rate less than 0.1%. By the way, all these sizes and weights are for the working prototypes but the final versions may be different.

Next generation modules also under development but not planned for release this year include advanced GPS and camera modules capable of operating independently. A microphone module is also under development and they are considering TV tuner, modem, and LAN modules.

Sony has a set of specifications for Memory Stick expansion modules to allow companies to develop for it, though at this point all of the development appears to be going on at Sony alone. For some reason, they are discouraging companies from developing expansion modules that combine memory storage and other functions. As the official Memory Stick site says, "To avoid function overlapping with existing Memory Sticks, the maximum memory area provided for free reading and writing by the host should be limited to 512 KB."

Next Generation Modules


Camera

GPS

Related Articles:

On the Web: To be honest, most of this dates back to Comdex in November but it didn't get much coverage at the time and interest is probably higher now that Sony has unveiled the improved Clié. -Ed

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Betamax

PFloyd @ 4/9/2001 11:58:40 AM #
That little quote at the end reminds me of Betamax...

RE: Betamax
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/9/2001 2:50:56 PM #

The phrase "Too little too late" pops into my mind...

And when am I going to.

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/9/2001 1:00:35 PM #
When am I going to use these things on my Visor? Isn't a sb md adapter being developed?

alt.sony.memorystick.die.die.die

GrouchoMarx @ 4/9/2001 7:08:13 PM #
I really wish Sony would get off its high horse and use an actual standard expansion slot. They are not nor will they ever make money off of a closed system like that. What does MemoryStick offer that CF doesn't now, and that SD doesn't claim to eventually be able to? Um, it's used by Sony. That's it. Waste of time.

Meanwhile, it's segmenting the market. Great, all of these MemoryStick add-ons (if they ever ship). Great news for all six of the Sony CLIE users in the US. The Japanese-only CLIE PEG-700C sounds wonderful, from what we've heard, if it ever comes to the US, except for one thing: You are then locked into a Sony proprietary expansion format with no way out. And I should do this to myself WHY?

Springboard has some of the same drawbacks. It's also proprietary, but it's not as closed as MemoryStick. HandSpring's stance has been "be fruitful and innovate", while Sony has involved no one but Sony, for the most part. Imposing design restrictions? Yeah, to protect their monopoly on memory MemoryStick modules. Nothing like severely limiting the usefulness of your own platform.

Take my advice, avoid MemoryStick. It will stick around for a long time in a niche by sheer force of the Sony empire, but it will never be mainstream, nor truely useful. Other standards will overtake it, and it will eventually be left in the dust. Don't bother.

--GrouchoMarx

RE: alt.sony.memorystick.die.die.die
RoofusPennymore @ 4/9/2001 9:24:32 PM #
If the MemoryStick would have been the first one out, it would have been great. But now it's the last. Alright Sony, you had a good plan, but it took you too dammed long to come up with it. Go with CF already!

Memory Stick is the standard

eipangan @ 4/10/2001 3:28:42 AM #
I don't think Sony is at fault at trying to advance its Memory Stick standard. It has already made a lot of investments in Memory Stick and now is not the time to change everything to CF or SD or whatever you think is the standard.

Actually, there is still no obvious standard expansion card. Some people say it's SD. Others say it's CF. Well, the guys at Sony are saying it's Memory Stick and in the Sony world of electronics, it really is.

If you're a Sony fan, just look at the possibilities. Here in Japan, they already have a lot of Sony Products with Memory Stick capabilities... PDA, Digital Cameras, Video Cameras, Audio Players, Laptops, Desktops and yes, even TV.

If you can equip them all with the Bluetooth stick, they can all communicate with each other.

But of course, not everybody's a Sony fan. As for me, I'm beginning to be one. :)

Too expensive?

Stewart Midwinter @ 4/11/2001 8:32:27 AM #
Past history w/ Palm & Visor units has shown that the add-on modules cost more & perform worse than their stand-alone equivalents. Take the Visor gps for example, or the Palmpix camera.

Why should we expect the Sony offerings to be any different?

"For Some Reason"

MegaZone @ 4/11/2001 1:03:01 PM #
I suspect the reason is to avoid competing with Sony's Memory Stick Modules.
RE: 'For Some Reason'
Ed @ 4/11/2001 3:53:46 PM #
I'm sure you are correct but I think I phrased it that way because I'm surprised Sony would do something so dumb. Crippling third party MS modules to protect their sales of Memory Sticks is going to hurt the platform and what is bad for the platform is bad for Sony. I think they would have been much smarter to throw the doors wide open and hope to make Memory Sticks more of a standard than the proprietary technology it is now.

---
Plenipotentiary
Palm Infocenter

Sony on top

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/12/2001 10:35:48 AM #
Memory Stick sales are projected to increase significantly over the next years. IMO Sony is the only company advancing the Plam platform right now. The Clie' 610 is one cool device. They might just have the muscle to compete with the Pocket PC. Palm apparently doesn't.

LJ

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