The Sony Memory Stick was introduced in 1998 as a storage device for Sony digital cameras. It can be used in other digital devices for storage but the push in the beginning was for camera storage. “Sony Memory Sticks” is the term used for all of Sony’s various memory stick-type devices, including their Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Duo, and what sounds like the ultimate combination and best of both worlds, the Memory Stick Pro Duo. While sometimes you’ll hear memory devices referred to as memory sticks, the name is actually exclusive to Sony’s Memory Stick. Because the sticks have a format that’s Sony’s alone with closed technology that can’t be developed by anyone else, these devices will doubtless never become standard outside Sony products. At least, not as long as the SD card continues to dominate the marketplace.
The original Sony Memory Sticks in 1998 were available in storage sizes ranging from 4 to 128 Megs. The Memory Stick Select was a companion device introduced to expand on the storage of a Memory Stick. Four could be added to a single stick, adding 128 Megs of storage in each bank. The Memory Stick needs a small switch flipped on the actual card for a user to access that extra memory. While digital-savvy consumers prefer not to do any flipping or switching today, as most storage is simply plug-in and use with much more storage than a Sony Memory Stick offers, it’s that memory expansion that keeps the Sony Memory Stick in the marketplace at all.
The Memory Stick Pro offers storage up to 4 Gigs, and is compatible with most devices that take a standard Sony Memory Stick. Older devices can benefit from a flash ROM update to become compatible with the Sony storage technology. Memory Stick Pro cards that offer over 1 Gig of storage are also higher-speed, though only slightly so, than a standard Sony Memory Stick.
The Memory Stick Duo was designed for storage on devices with small profiles, and is a little smaller than the SD card that’s standard today. Sony’s PSP, a handheld video game device, and Sony – Ericsson cell phones are devices were the Memory Stick Duo is the storage of choice. It’s limited, though, with those banks of 128 Megs each like the original stick. The Memory Stick Pro Duo is a combination card that offers the small size of the Duo with the larger storage of the Pro.
The Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo might be well-used in Sony products, but most other companies avoid it and endorse other storage because the sticks are in a proprietary format that’s controlled solely by Sony and can’t be developed by anyone else, like the open format SD card technology can. Also, for the same amount of storage in an SD card or a stick, you’ll pay much more for the Sony Memory Stick.