Samsung Electronics has expanded its Memory Stick licensing agreement with Sony and plans to begin manufacturing its own-brand Memory Stick memory cards.
The deal covers manufacture of the basic blue-coloured Memory Stick and Memory Stick Duo cards and does not include the newer Memory Stick Pro or expansion module cards, said Aki Shimazu, a spokeswoman for Sony.
Samsung is the fourth company to license Sony's technology. It expects to begin production in August or September and begin sales shortly afterwards, said Jun Yim, a spokesman for Samsung.
Although there will be more competition in the market, the Samsung move is not expected to bring significantly lower prices for consumers.
"I think the price will be comparable with existing manufacturers," said Yim.
The deal builds on a licensing agreement signed between the companies in 2001 that gave Samsung the ability to include Memory Stick slots and support in its digital consumer electronics products. To date Samsung has included a Memory Stick slot in several products including a notebook personal computer and DVD player.
Samsung said it is currently developing at least one cellular telephone that will feature a Memory Stick slot.
Memory Stick, launched by Sony in 1998, was the top selling memory card format in 2002, according to a July report by market research company IDC. About 18 million cards were shipped during the year, thanks in large part to the popularity of Sony-brand consumer electronics products. Over the next five years IDC expects shipment growth of Memory Stick Duo to be particularly strong and for it to be the number two memory card format, behind leader mini SD, by 2007.
Martyn Williams writes for IDG News Service