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Mike Elgan
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Remember Memory Sticks? They're Suddenly Low Cost Media

While no one was looking, Sony leaked the news that it would release tomorrow a black 1 GB Memory Stick PRO card for about $150.

While no one was looking, Sony leaked the news that it would release tomorrow a black 1 GB Memory Stick PRO card for about $150.

This is major news for millions who have Sony digital cameras and other gadgets that support only Memory Stick.

The Memory Stick format has long been considered a wildly over-priced removable flash media format. But -- suddenly! -- all that is changing.

A year ago, you might have expected to pay about $1,000 for a gigabyte on Memory Stick. In August Sony was selling them for about $350. Now $150.

And if Sony is selling them for $150, you can bet that Lexmark, SanDisk and others will offer $100 Memory Sticks that hold 1 GB of data.

It looks like Sony has finally figured out that sales of its electronics are artificially suppressed by consumer hesitation over the Memory Stick format, which is perceived as proprietary, slow and -- most importantly -- over priced.

Personally, I like the Memory Stick format -- and love my Sony DSC-717 digital camera. But I hate running out of storage on my 256 Memory Stick PRO card, which happened most recently on Christmas. I paid a small fortune for that card two years ago, and have hesitated since then to again pay the "Sony tax" for media.

But $150 for a gig? That's a whole different picture.

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