Samsung Electronics has expanded its Memory Stick licensing agreement with Sony and plans to begin manufacturing its own-brand Memory Stick memory cards.
The deal covers manufacture of the basic blue-colored Memory Stick and Memory Stick Duo cards and did not include the newer Memory Stick Pro or expansion module cards, a Sony spokesperson, Aki Shimazu,, said. Samsung becomes Sony's fourth licensee after SanDisk, Lexar Media and Fujitsu.
Sony also produces the cards itself.
The South Korean electronics company expected to begin production in August or September and begin sales shortly afterwards, a spokesman for Samsung, Jun Yim,, said.
While the addition of Samsung as a licensee will bring more competition to the market, it is not expected to bring significantly lower prices for consumers.
"I think the price will be comparable (with existing manufacturers)," Yim said. "I don't think we can make them for much cheaper."
The deal builds on a licensing agreement signed between the companies in 2001 that gave Samsung the ability to include Memory Stick slots and support in its digital consumer electronics products.
To date the South Korean electronics manufacturer has included a Memory Stick slot in several products including a notebook personal computer and DVD player.
Samsung said it was currently developing at least one cellular telephone that would feature a Memory Stick slot.
Yim declined to divulge any details of the product because it was still under development although he said it could be launched before the end of the year. Memory Stick, launched by Sony in 1998, was the top selling memory card format in 2002, according to a July report by market research company IDC.
About 18 million cards were shipped during the year, thanks in large part to the popularity of Sony-brand consumer electronics products.
Over the next five years IDC expects shipment growth of Memory Stick Duo to be particularly strong and for it to be the number two memory card format, behind leader mini SD, by 2007.