TOKYO Sony Corp. has licensed its Memory Stick, a flash memory card, to six companies. To support Sony, Fujitsu Ltd. will license the media specifications needed to produce Memory Stick products.
Five other companies Aiwa Co. Ltd., Kenwood Corp., Pioneer Corp., Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. and Sharp Corp. will license hardware specifications to develop products based on Memory Stick technology, including audio players.
The six companies will license Memory Stick with MagicGate, Sony's proprietary copy protection scheme. MagicGate ensures secure audio data on the Memory Stick Walkman, which will hit the Japanese market in December. A license is needed to produce Memory Stick Walkman-compliant products.
Sony reported that cumulative shipments of the Memory Stick reached 1 million units in August. The company expects that number to swell to 3 million units by March 2000.
This means that Memory Stick will account for 30 percent of the small flash-card market, which Sony estimated at 10 million units for the current fiscal year, which ends next March. Memory Stick shipments will grow more than three times to 10 million units in the next fiscal year, according to Sony.
Sony is promoting its gum-stick-sized Memory Stick for other applications, and has created mockups for a Walkman/cell phone combo, a headphone audio player in which the Memory Stick is inserted directly into the headset, along with a GPS cell phone. Since the first introduction of Memory Stick in September 1998, Sony has unveiled camcorders, digital still cameras, notebook and desktop computers, video printers and several Walkman products that use Memory Stick technology for data storage. An IC recorder using Memory Stick was added to the product family last month. That recorder will be introduced in December.