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SanDisk, Sony Team For New Memory Stick

SanDisk Corp. announced that it is teaming up with Sony to develop the next generation of Sony’s Memory Stick flash memory products.

The two companies said they would develop the next generation of Memory Stick together and separately manufacture and sell the product through their various channels.

Under the agreement, which was announced last week, SanDisk will be able to sell Memory Stick under the SanDisk brand. SanDisk will also sell Sony its NAND Flash Memory components (NAND is flash memory used in MP3 audio players and other portable devices).

According to a SanDisk spokesman, the next generation Memory Stick products will feature a number of improvements over the existing design while retaining the same form factor. Improvements include enhanced copyright protection of stored content, faster write speeds and increased storage capacity expected to reach several gigabytes. These new improvements will enable capacity intensive applications such as the storage of music libraries and the recording and playback of real time video.

The specifications were still in development so there is no word on whether the new Memory Stick devices will be backward compatible with current Memory Stick enabled products, according to SanDisk.

Worldwide shipments of Memory Stick and accessories to its more than 29,000 retail outlets will start over the next two quarters, SanDisk said.

Sales of NAND components to Sony are expected to begin toward the end of the year.

“We are very pleased that Sony has invited us to contribute our expertise and intellectual property in flash memory cards to jointly develop the next generation of Memory Stick,” said Eli Harari, SanDisk president/CEO. “This agreement enables SanDisk to sell every major flash memory card form factor so we can truly be a one-stop shop to our retail customers,” he said.