Sony Memory Stick - First Looks!

By Chua Aik Phiang

for Hardware One

Sony Corporation has announced the launch of its first 'Memory Stick' recordable memory and its line of compatible products.

Designed for use with both PC and a wide variety of digital AV (audio / video) products, the Memory Stick can be used to store, transfer and play back AV contents such as images, sounds and music as well as information including data, text and graphics.

Key Features

Memory Stick IC media is extremely compact, about the size and shape of gum. It is also very lightweight, weighing only 4 grams. Its diminutive size and ergonomic design make Memory Stick easier to insert, remove and carry than any other IC memory card.

Each Memory Stick is 2 inches long, 0.85 inches wide, and 0.11 inches thick. Early version will feature 4 and 8 megabytes of storage, but higher-capacity 32 MB versions for audio and video users should be quickly available. Indications are that one of the first applications of Memory Stick will be in digital camcorder. PC Card adaptor that could house a Memory Stick should ultimately be available for computer.

These sticks will employ an authentication technology. This is to ensure that protected content is only transferred between compliant devices and media. Protected content is recorded and transferred in an encrypted format to prevent unauthorised copying of playback.

Like other flash memory card, the Memory Stick also offers high-speed data access. Unlike a floppy disk or tape cassette, it contains no moving parts and requires no separate playback device. This makes it an ideal item for use in miniature electronic goods.

Flipping a switch on the back of the card prevents accidental erasure of data. The sticks are designed in a way as to prevent dirt and other contaminants from coming into contact with the 10-pin connector.

Technical Specification

IC Memory Type Flash Memory
Storage Capacity 4 MB [MSA-4A] and 8 MB [MSA-8A]
Connector Type 10 Pin Connector
Interface Serial Interface
Clock Speed Maximum 20 MHz
Write Speed Maximum 1.50 MB / second
Read Out Speed Maximum 2.45 MB / second
Power Source (Voltage) 2.7 V to 3.6 V
Power Consumption (Average) Approximately 45 mA
Power Consumption (Standby) Maximum 130 m A
Outer Dimensions Approximately 21.5 x 50 x 20.8 mm (W/L/T)
Weight Approximately 4 grams

Much more than a new way of recording, the Memory Stick is a new way of thinking, a new way of sharing and connecting the digital content of one's life, without barrier, whether at work or at play.


As mentioned earlier, Sony has designed the Memory Stick format for total compatibility. This means that every type of digital AV and IT product, whether professional, industrial, business or consumer, will support (or to be supported by) the Memory Stick. From digital cameras and video camcorders, digital telephones and TV, all the way up to the remarkable world of VAIO PCs, digital photo printers and digital photo frame and even car navigator systems, all compatible with this new universal media!