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Sony to release Memory Stick Duo

Sony has set a launch date for its tiny Memory Stick Duo flash memory cards, but NTT DoCoMo will ship a combined mobile phone and digital camera with an 8Mbyte version of the card days before.

The Memory Stick Duo will come with an adapter allowing it to be used in slots intended for its larger Memory Stick cousin. When the Duo is launched in Japan on 20 July, the suggested retail price for a 16Mbyte card will be around ¥2,800 (£15.50), Sony spokeswoman Saori Takahashi said. A standard 16Mbyte Memory Stick sells for under ¥2,000 (£11) in Japan.

The first device to use the Duo will be one of NTT DoCoMo's latest "I-shot" mobile phones, the D251i from Mitsubishi Electric. It goes on sale bundled with an 8Mbyte Memory Stick Duo on 15 July, NTT DoCoMo said.

NTT DoCoMo's I-shot mobile phones are equipped with a built-in digital still camera, so that users can take pictures and send them by e-mail.

Although no date has been set for the launch of the Memory Stick Duo outside Japan, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications is planning to include a Duo card slot in its forthcoming P800 mobile phone for GSM networks, according to Sony Ericsson.

GSM networks operate in countries on five continents, but not in Japan. The P800 will ship, with a 16Mbyte Duo card and adapter, later this year. The phone will ship first in Europe, and the company is also considering shipping it in North America and Asia.

The new 16Mbyte Memory Stick Duo card is about one-third the size of a standard Memory Stick and smaller than flash memory card competitors such as secure digital (SD) cards and multimedia cards.

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