Anyone who owns a Sony camera or laptop is familiar with the Memory Stick. While the rest of the consumer electronics world was getting their flash memory in the format of Compact Flash, initially, and later SD and micro SD, Sony went its own way with the Memory Stick, a flash chip in the form of a stick of gum. This meant that Sony camera users couldn’t swap cards with their non-Sony friends or use them in non-Sony devices. Seems like Sony would have given up on it years ago.
But Sony doesn’t surrender in format wars easily, as we know from the Betamax battle; not even when the war is over. At the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, however, Sony raised a tentative white flag—the company’s latest line of cameras will include a slot for SD memory cards alongside the Memory Stick slot. The company also announced that it will start selling its own brand of SD and micros cards.
It did not completely take Memory Stick off of life support, however. The company also announced a few camera models that can communicate with each other and other devices wirelessly. The wireless transmitter, however, comes built into a special Memory Stick.
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.