SanDisk today announced that retailers in Europe will begin receiving high-capacity SanDisk Memory Stick PRO Duo Gaming cards over the coming weeks in anticipation of the planned September 1 release of the Sony PSP.
SanDisk Memory Stick PRO Duo Gaming cards, which have become popular in countries where the hand-held entertainment system has already been introduced, are made in capacities of up to 2GB. High-capacity memory cards are necessary to fully utilize the PSP's multitude of features, including the storage of video clips, digital music tracks, game data and digital still photos.
"Our cards will be available at major retailers in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, the Nordic countries and Eastern Europe," said Ed Moro, SanDisk's managing director of sales for Europe. Outlets will include game specialty, toy and consumer electronics stores, and shipments will be made this month and in September, he said.
European consumers who have waited for the PSP are being rewarded for their patience, because the latest models will incorporate Sony's recently-announced 2.0 firmware upgrade. This addition adds a Web browser, the ability to transfer digital still photos between PSPs through a wireless connection, support for more image formats (TIFF, BMP, GIF, PNG) and support for two additional music audio formats -- WAV and AAC. Also, the new PSPs will allow video downloading in the MPEG4 AVC format, providing a platform for Web-based vendors to offer TV shows and other content.
"The PSP's new software features will increase the need for high-capacity Memory Stick PRO Duo cards to store this extra video content," said Christina Day, SanDisk's product marketing manager for gaming cards. SanDisk, which co-developed Memory Stick PRO media with Sony, offers the game card line in neon colors and in four capacities: 256MB, 512MB, 1GB and 2GB. Suggested retail prices range from EUR 35 to EUR 233, excluding VAT.
Beyond the PSP, SanDisk is positioned to supply flash memory products for the next generation of gaming consoles. Earlier this year, Sony announced that its PlayStation 3, which is scheduled for release next year, will have three different memory card slots, including SD. Also, Nintendo has said that its forthcoming console, the Revolution, will also support the SD format. SanDisk offers SD Gaming cards in three capacities, from 256MB to 1GB, at prices ranging from EUR 27 to EUR 79, excluding VAT.
"The videogame industry has begun to utilize removable flash memory, a trend that looks to continue with the proliferation of the PSP and 2006 launches of the PS3 and Revolution," said Schelley Olhava, program manager for IDC, a market research firm. "With the addition of multimedia functions and a wealth of new online content that can be downloaded and stored, we expect that consumer demand for more memory will increase."