A family of flash memory cards from Sony designed for digital storage in cameras, camcorders and other handheld devices. Introduced in 1998 with 4MB and 8MB capacities, the original 2" modules looked like a short stick of chewing gum. Sony also designed Memory Sticks as I/O devices for cameras, GPS and Bluetooth modules, but they were not widely used.
Memory Stick Versions
The original Memory Stick reached a maximum of 128MB. A Memory Select version had two 128MB memory banks with a tiny switch for selecting one or the other. In 2003, the Memory Stick PRO came out with a little more transfer speed and increased storage capacity, eventually reaching into the gigabyte range. However, the major change was the Duo format, which is half as thick and a third shorter than the original module (see images below). See flash memory
The First Memory Stick
The first Sony memory cards seemed compact in the late 1990s, but were superseded by the smaller Duo cards in 2004.
The Duo Format
With an adapter (bottom right), the smaller Duo could be plugged into a full-size Memory Stick slot. MagicGate refers to the copy protection used in Sony's ATRAC3 audio format and music players. (Image courtesy of Sony Corporation.)
PRO Duo, PRO-HG Duo and Duo HX
New Sony products use the PRO Duo format. With storage capacities up to 32GB, PRO-HG is faster than PRO Duo, and PRO-HG Duo HX is for HD camcorders. See also Video HD
The Memory Stick Micro card (right) is used in smartphones and can be plugged into a Duo slot with an adapter (left).
Camera on a Memory Stick
Memory Sticks were also designed as I/O devices such as this camera that plugged into Sony's earlier Clie PDA. (Image courtesy of Sony Corporation.)