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Sony's logo. Click here to visit the Sony website! Sony, SanDisk cooperate on faster flash
(Monday, December 11, 2006 - 11:57 EST)

California-based SanDisk Corp. and Japan's Sony Corp. have today announced development of a new flash memory format dubbed "Memory Stick PRO-HG".

To be available only in the Memory Stick Duo form factor (about half the size of a full-sized Memory Stick), the new cards will retain backward compatibility with regular Memory Stick Duo devices with a sustained write speed of 5MB/second. However, when used in a Memory Stick PRO-HG device, the sustained write speed triples to an impressive 15MB/second. The maximum transfer rate is 60MB/second, and the maximum capacity is 32GB, but these are merely the maximum the format can cater for in theory.

Memory Stick Pro-HG cards achieve their speed increase in two ways. Firstly, in addition to the serial and 4-bit parallel interfaces found on existing Memory Stick PRO cards, Sony and SanDisk have added an 8-bit parallel interface. Secondly, the internal clock frequency has been raised from 40MHz to 60Mhz.

Pricing, precise availability, and capacity of the new cards has not been announced at this time. Licensing for development of PRO-HG compatible devices will begin next January, and the first PRO-HG cards should begin shipping some time in 2007.

Original Source Press Release:

SanDisk and Sony Develop ''Memory Stick Pro-HG'' Format

IC Recording Media With High-Speed Writing and Data Transfer Capability

MILPITAS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--SanDisk® Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK) and Sony Corporation today announced the development of the "Memory Stick PRO-HG" format expanded from the "Memory Stick PRO" format.

The continuing increase in the capacity of IC recording media has broadened its usage as a practical way to store high-resolution digital photos, music and video content (from the Internet or TV programs) on portable devices that are designed to handle digital entertainment content. The demand for real-time recording and transfer of multiple gigabytes of data using IC recording media is expected to increase rapidly, due to the growing popularity of high resolution video and digital still image applications.

"Memory Stick PRO-HG" media offers high performance to meet the stringent demands of end users. This new media format uses an enhanced, 8-bit parallel interface in addition to a conventional serial and 4-bit parallel interface. The interface clock frequency also increases to 60MHz from 40MHz. This means that maximum data transfer speed increases up to 480Mbps, or 60MB/s (theoretical value), three times as fast as that of "Memory Stick PRO" media. The minimum write speed at 8-bit parallel transfer is 120 Mbps, or 15MB/s(1). These enhancements allow large data amounts of up to several gigabytes to be quickly transferred, as well as the real-time recording of high-resolution video and still images.

Since "Memory Stick PRO-HG" is an extended format of the "Memory Stick PRO" format, "Memory Stick PRO-HG" compliant host devices support the conventional "Memory Stick PRO" media as well as "Memory Stick PRO-HG" media. In addition, the "Memory Stick PRO-HG" media can be used conventional "Memory Stick PRO" compliant host devices as well as "Memory Stick PRO-HG" compliant host devices.(2)

Licensing for the development of "Memory Stick PRO-HG" compliant host devices is scheduled to commence in January 2007.

"Sony and SanDisk share the common goal of providing exciting new digital audio and video applications to consumers," said Eli Harari, Chairman and CEO of SanDisk Corporation. "This is the driving force that is behind our relentless efforts to leverage our expertise and extensive intellectual property in flash memory cards to develop the Memory Stick PRO-HG. I am proud of the close cooperation we have with Sony over the years and look forward to seeing the exciting new products that Memory Stick PRO-HG media enable."

Akira Kubota, president of Core Component Business Unit, Sony Corporation said "Sony has successfully collaborated with SanDisk Corporation in promoting the Memory Stick formats. Significant milestones have been the Memory Stick PRO format in 2003 and the Memory Stick Micro in 2005. I am delighted by today's joint announcement of the Memory Stick PRO-HG format. This new IC recording media allows the speedy sharing of high definition video and digital still camera data between products." Through the introduction of this new format, Memory Stick will greatly expand its entertainment applications.

Since the September 1998 market introduction of Memory Stick, cumulative shipments of media have achieved 200 million units as of September 2006(3). The Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo media will be made available in 2007.

Major Specifications of Memory Stick PRO-HG

Dimensions: Duo size (31 x 20 x 1.6) mm
Connector Pin: 14-pin
Capacity: 32GB(a) (format maximum)(4)
Max. Data Transfer Rate: 480 Mbps (theoretical)
Min. Write Speed: 120 Mbps(1) (As of 8-bit parallel transfer) / 40 Mbps(1) (As of 4-bit parallel transfer)
Operating Voltage: 2.7 to 3.6 V
Interface: 8-bit / 4-bit parallel I/F and Serial I/F
Max. Clock frequency: 60MHz(5)
Copyright Protection Technology: MagicGate

For licensing information, please visit www.memorystick.org

  1. In the case of optimized compliant host devices.
  2. When using "Memory Stick PRO-HG" media with "Memory Stick PRO" compliant host devices, "Memory Stick PRO-HG" media functions as "Memory Stick PRO".
  3. The cumulative number includes Memory Stick, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO and Memory Stick PRO Duo media.
  4. This data does not guarantee that Memory Stick PRO-HG 32 GB media will be introduced to the market. Memory Stick PRO-HG product lineup is not yet fixed. Memory Stick PRO-HG recording capacity, transfer speed etc. will depend on specifications of compliant host devices.
  5. 8-bit parallel transfer specification.
About SanDisk Corporation
SanDisk is the original inventor of flash storage cards and is the world's largest supplier of flash data storage card products using its patented, high-density flash memory and controller technology. SanDisk is headquartered in Milpitas, CA and has operations worldwide, with more than half its sales outside the U.S.

About Sony Corporation
Sony Corporation is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, game, communications, key device and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, computer entertainment and on-line businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be the leading personal broadband entertainment company in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of approximately $63 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2006. Sony Global Web Site:

SanDisk and the SanDisk logo are trademarks of SanDisk Corporation, registered in the U.S. and other countries. Memory Stick PRO Duo is a trademark of Sony Corporation. Other brand names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective holder(s).

(a) 1 megabyte (MB) = 1 million bytes;
1 gigabyte (GB) = 1 billion bytes

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