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Sony expands Memory Stick platform

Battle for supremacy against CompactFlash and SmartMedia continues

Sony is enlisting support in its battle for supremacy in the memory card market.

The company, which has been battling alone since the 1998 launch of Memory Stick against formats with wider industry support, has demonstrated a selection of products from other manufacturers based on its memory card format.

Sony has signed licensing agreements covering the Memory Stick with 116 companies, around 50 products and prototypes from some of those companies are on display at the Comdex IT trade show in Las Vegas this week.

They range from a Linux-based PDA (personal digital assistant) from Taiwan's Acer to a car navigation system that reads GPS (global positioning system) data from Memory Stick made by Alpine Electronics.

Until now it has been alone in promoting the format and has managed to carve out a reasonable share of the market, but needs the support of others to take the format further.

Sony hopes that by bringing other manufacturers on board it can edge out SmartMedia and CompactFlash for the number one position at home and also head off the advance of recently launched formats such as MultiMediaCard and Secure Digital.

Sony expects to ship a 128MB version of the card next spring and a 1GB version by 2003.

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