Sony's Memory Stick has received a boost thanks to a deal with memory card maker SanDisk, which will see SanDisk supply Sony with flash memory and Sony supply finished Memory Stick cards back to SanDisk for resale.
The deal also calls for the two companies to work together on development and separate manufacturing of next-generation Memory Stick media. Those cards are expected to appear in the "near future", according to Sony spokesman Atsuo Omagari.
For Sony and its millions of Memory Stick users, the deal means a third source for the chewing-gum-sized memory cards. In addition to its own cards, Lexar Media began selling Memory Stick shortly after Sony made a $US2 million investment in the company in April 2000.
SanDisk gets a new customer for its flash memory chips, is able to complete its product line, and can now boast it sells media for each of the major memory card formats.
"It's something we want to offer our customers because they have been saying they want Memory Stick," said Mike Wong, a spokesman for SanDisk. "Memory Stick has been selling very well; Sony has sold over 7 million since their introduction. There is certainly a lot of demand."
The card competes with SanDisk's own Compact Flash and MultiMediaCard, which was developed by the company in conjunction with Toshiba and Matsushita Electric Industrial, but the agreement, and SanDisk's work on a next-generation Memory Stick, won't affect those cards, said Wong. "This is an addition to our product line. It won't supersede any of our existing products."
The turbulent memory chip market, which is seeing all-time price lows at present, is proving a boon for consumers who are able to find media for cheaper prices than ever before, Wong said.