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Memory Stick Gets More Backing

Sony also took the time in its line show to review the Memory Stick announcements it made at last month's CeBIT show in Hanover, Germany, where 19 new companies pledged to work with Sony to finalize agreements to license the Memory Stick hardware/device specifications.

Memory Stick is a compact-sized IC recording media incorporating rewritable flash memory technology. It currently is available in storage capacities of 4MB, 8MB, 16MB, 32MB and 64MB, with 256MB slated for introduction within the year 2001.

With the announcement, the total number of companies to license the Memory Stick specifications reached 46 (44 for the hardware/device license, and two for the media license). These companies will be able to manufacture and commercialize a wide variety of compliant products.

Companies to License Memory Stick (*indicates new companies): Aiwa, Acer, Adobe*, Alpine Electronics, Alps Electric, Casio, Clarion, Compaq, DataFab Systems*, Fujitsu Ten Ltd., Hitachi Semiconductor Division*, I-O Data Device*, Kenwood, Koninklijke, Philips Electronics N.V., LG Electronics, Marantz Japan, Mitsubishi Electric*, Mitsumi Electric*, Oki Electric, Olympus Optical Co., Onkyo, Palm Computing*, Pioneer, Ricoh, Samsung Electronics, Sanyo Electric*, SCM Microsystems, Seiko Epson*, Sharp, SIS (Silicon Integrated Systems), Teac*, Texas Instruments, Total Technology Company*, Western Digital*, Xanavi Informatics*, YE Data*, France Telecom, Audi AG, General Motors, Holden*, Opel*, Saab*, Vauxhall* and Volkswagen*. Companies with the media licenses are Fujitsu and Lexar Media.

Fujio Nishida, president of Sony's consumer product group, described Memory Stick as the storage media for "the new networking age," which is "interchangable between various devices."

Sony repeated another CeBIT announcement, namely that the LSI codec of the "ATRAC 3" sound-compression technology developed by the company and Fujitsu, Hitachi, Motorola, NEC, ROHM, Sanyo and Texas Instruments will be licensed. The program will allow these companies to develop and commercialize "ATRAC 3" compliant LSI, which will enable the development of compliant audio devices by hardware manufacturers, Sony said.