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Memory Mayhem Creates Consumer Confusion

Techstination feature for Wednesday, May 24, 2000

Come on guys! How long do we have to put up with this? Another battle over standards in electronic devices. Buy a digital camera today... .and maybe it will store images on a CompactFlash card. Or maybe it will use a wafer thin SmartMedia card. Sony, as it has done before, is going its own way... .trying to create a new standard around what it calls the Memory Stick... ....

"We have a total of twenty different Memory Stick products that are on the market now, but we also have 46 different companies that have licensed memory stick technology."

Mark Viken is the President of Sony's Personal Network Solutions Company. The Memory Stick is about the size of a stick of gum and slips into a variety of devices... computers... .digital cameras, picture frames, camcorders and portable digital music players... .made by Sony and soon those other electronics companies. From my viewpoint the Memory Stick is good, but I don't see why it is any better than the CompactFlash so many other manufacturers have been using to store digital information. They're small and sturdy too. The other popular digital storage medium... .SmartMedia... .feels thin and flimsy. Can Sony create a standard once and for all?

"Well the advantage to Memory Stick is we really designed it from the ground up to be consumer friendly. So it has an erasure prevention switch, it's very small and compact."

There's a lot at stake here. Who knows how many devices you'll have soon that will store digital information. I'll have more to tell you about it at Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin for CBS News.