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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Sony Unveils Copyright, Audio Technologies for Memory Stick
  • February 24, 1999 (TOKYO) — Sony Corp. announced technologies for copyright protection and audio compression for Memory Stick, a small-sized storage medium with built-in flash memory.
    Yutaka Nakagawa, corporate vice president of Sony said, “We can apply Memory Stick to either AV electronics appliances or PC-related equipment by using copyright protection and audio compression technology.”

    The announcement backs Sony’s vision to adopt media that are applicable to both AV equipment and PC peripherals.

    The copyright protection technology protects copyrighted data, such as music works, from illegal copying. Two systems were announced: Magic Gate (tentatively named) and OpenMG (tentatively named).

    Magic Gate is an authentication/encryption system embodied in a microchip. A proprietary microchip is mounted on both Memory Stick-compliant equipment and Memory Stick itself.

    OpenMG is an authentication/encryption system for handling copyrighted works such as music. It is composed of software, Secure Library, and hardware, Secure Module, for keeping a key.

    The audio compression technology is tentatively called ATRAC3. It corresponds to the MD compression technology ATRAC. It allows for a long recording time even for Memory Stick with small capacity. For instance, it allows for one hour or longer recording in the normal mode, and two hour or longer recording in the extension mode even for 64MB Memory Stick.

    Sony also presented a road map of future Memory Stick technology.

    As a first step, the company will release a new Memory Stick with a capacity of 16MB on April 1. And then it will put a 32MB Memory Stick product to the market in the summer of 1999 or so, and a 64MB product by the end of the year. Further, the company reportedly aims at introduction of 256MB Memory Stick to the market around 2001.

    So far, Sony developed 3.5-inch FD for PC-related equipment and MD for AV application equipment; both the memory/recording media have become industrial standards.

    At the press conference, Sony exhibited products available for Memory Stick application for reference (pictures at the right and at the upper left).

    Sony said it has not decided a time for release or prices of the products for the technologies.

    Related stories:
    Sony to Market Digital Camcorder with Memory Stick Slot
    Sony to Market Chewing-Gum-Size Flash Memory Modules

    (BizTech News Dept.)

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