Sony and Samsung have announced a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening ties between the two electronics giants. The first area likely to benefit from the agreement, which was signed in late June, will be that of memory card technology, as Samsung begins planning for the release of products supporting Sony's Memory Stick technology.
"They are going to make adapters compliant with Memory Stick which are going to be sold and bundled with their PC products so it will expand further the Memory Stick business," said Aki Shimazu, a spokeswoman for Sony. Samsung plans to step up support from next year, when Memory Stick slots will be built directly into its personal computers, eliminating the need for an adapter. In the future this could extend to a wide range of products, said Sonia Kim, a spokeswoman for Samsung.
Samsung is not planning to drop support for competing formats altogether. It will continue to provide and support Smart Media cards and plans to produce adapters compatible with both formats, said the company in a statement.
The deal with Samsung could potentially be one of the most important signed so far by Sony. The Japanese company has already signed licensing agreements with 167 companies covering Memory Stick technology. While companies such as NEC, Sharp and Alpine Electronics offer Memory Stick-compliant products ranging from notebook computers to digital audio players and car navigation systems in Japan, few are marketing them outside that country.
In contrast, products supporting Smart Media, Compact Flash and Secure Digital (SD) cards, rivals to the Memory Stick, are widely sold around the world by multiple manufacturers.
The deal extends a relationship between the two companies already centred around the Memory Stick. Samsung has been supplying flash memory chips to Sony for use in the memory cards for some time, said Shimazu. Samsung noted in its statement that the deal with Sony will have the added benefit of supporting its own flash memory business.