The lack of mandatory standards for Secure Digital (SD) flash memory formats means users risk corrupting their data if they use the cards in more than one device.
The problem has arisen as consumers try to use their SD cards in different brands of devices. Though by no means widespread, the issue poses ongoing problems for device manufacturers, particularly as users have come to expect ubiquitous storage in flash memory.
When files on SD cards are transferred using different third-party devices, such as digital cameras, PDAs or memory card readers, data can be corrupted. Sometimes the card has to be reformatted. It can cause a great deal of concern, particularly since most flash memory products are sold on the back of the digital imaging market.
"Because there is no mandatory format with SD, it means manufacturers cannot guarantee compatibility," said Anthony Hearne, Sony's product manager for digital imaging.
"It hasn't really been a problem until now because most people have only been using their SD cards in one device. But once you start using it for multiple applications it can become an issue."
These days many devices incorporate readers for more than one form of flash memory. Sony believes Memory Stick will stand the test of time because it doesn't have the compatibility problems of other flash products. According to Sony, because it set down compulsory standards early on, compatibility isn't an issue with Memory Stick.
"Memory Stick was not actually designed for storage," Hearne said. "It was designed as a personal network to connect AV products."