Sony Corporation (Sony) and SanDisk Corporation (SanDisk) have jointly developed two expanded formats of flash memory, memory stick format series for extended high capacity and memory stick HG micro. The memory stick format series for extended high capacity expands the memory stick pro format series to achieve a maximum storage capacity of two-terabytes (TB), while the memory stick HG micro format allows a maximum data-transfer speed of 60 megabytes per second (MB/s).

Format licensing corresponding to the memory stick format for extended high capacity and the memory stick HG micro is scheduled to start in 2009.

Memory Stick Format Series for Extended High Capacity:

The demand for high-capacity memory cards capable of storing high-resolution pictures and videos is increasing as the image quality of high-definition digital still cameras, DSLR cameras, and camcorders continues to evolve. The new memory stick format for extended high capacity format hopes to meet this demand by enabling the recording of up to 2TB of data, which is 60 times more storage capacity than the memory stick pro format’s 32-gigabyte (GB) capacity limit.

By this format expansion, memory stick pro formats for extended high capacity shatters the terabyte mark for data storage, opening the door for wider applications. This new format is scheduled to continue to support the MagicGate copyright protection technology as well as the Access Control Function.

Memory Stick HG Micro:

In addition, SanDisk and Sony also announced the joint development of memory stick HG micro, a format expanded from Memory Stick Micro (M2). This new format adopts an enhanced 8-bit parallel interface and features an increased interface clock frequency of 60 mega hertz (MHz), enabling 60MB/s (480 Mbps in theoretical value) maximum data transfer speed. This is three times faster than the conventional serial 4-bit parallel interface and 40MHz interface clock frequency adopted in the memory stick micro, offering data-transfer speeds of the memory stick pro-HG on a micro-size memory card.

Since the September 1998 market introduction of the memory stick, cumulative shipments of media are estimated to surpass 500 million units in 2009. SanDisk and Sony will continue to work toward enhanced usability of the Memory Stick to respond to the market needs for larger and faster memory cards.

SanDisk and Sony share a long collaborative history of developing products and technologies that enhance user experience and provide direct benefit to consumers, said Yoram Cedar, executive vice president, original equipment manufacturer and corporate engineering, SanDisk. Both companies have enjoyed great successes with the Memory Stick PRO format in the past, and we are sure that the expansion of these formats to improve capacity and performance will be quite compelling. This technology provides a framework for us to develop products that will significantly impact mobile and consumer electronics markets.

Hidenosuke Kanai, president of Electronic Devices Business Group of Sony, said, Sony has successfully collaborated with SanDisk Corporation in developing and promoting the Memory Stick formats such as the Memory Stick PRO format in 2003, the Memory Stick Micro format for mobile products in 2005 and Memory Stick PRO-HG format in 2006. Today, we are happy to announce the latest result of the joint development on the Memory Stick format to offer a memory card with unprecedented high capacity. Through the introduction of these new formats, Sony hopes that the Memory Stick will open up new possibilities and greatly expand its applications of flash memory cards.