April 14, 2005 10:42 AM PDT

PSP owners gobble up Memory Sticks

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You can still buy a PlayStation Portable if you look in the right places, but good luck snagging a memory card for it.

High-capacity versions of the Memory Stick cards that the new gadget uses to store video, photos and music have been in short supply almost since the handheld game player went on sale. Flash memory specialist SanDisk is scrambling to get more in stores.

"It's been hard to keep up with the demand," said Christina Day, product marketing manager for SanDisk. "It's a good problem to have, but we don't want to have people frustrated."

SanDisk formed a partnership with Sony years ago to establish the Memory Stick format and has typically shared the market evenly with Sony.

To date, the cards have chiefly been used in Sony digital cameras. The PSP posed the first opportunity to reach a broader audience, and SanDisk decided to court potential buyers with neon-colored cards bearing a "compatible with PSP" label.

The strategy has worked, Day said, with 20 percent to 30 percent of PSP buyers also grabbing a SanDisk card. But the company underestimated how storage-hungry those customers would be, leading to almost instant sell-outs of the highest-capacity cards, 512MB and 1GB.

"We weren't sure how popular video was going to be as a feature," Day said, noting the complex process required to convert video clips into a format the PSP can use.

Turns out PSP owners are grabbing and encoding every video clip they can find, and they're already clamoring for bigger cards. "We're getting a lot of questions about 2GB Memory Sticks," Day said.

SanDisk expects the 2GB cards to hit stores in two or three months, she said, around the same time the company will open a third factory that should help it keep up with the sudden spike in demand. "We're doing our best to meet demand," she said.

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Love my PSP! and home video/photos
I was glad I grabbed the MemoryStickProDuo at Toys$R$Us when I bought my PSP on its debut. Turns out, encoding video was a breeze (via internet utility - japanese version). I've also moved all my family photos for use in a slide-show mode (it's soo cool! on the PSP). I like the High-definition video trailers available for download at DivX (HD format videos). I'm holding off converting my 150 $$legit$$ music CD's to the PSP. I can't get it to recognize iTune's M4P format (is there an encoder out there???).
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Posted by (6 comments )
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The PSP rocks!
Luan,

I agree with your comments! The PSP is a seriously sweet machine.

Now, if you want to convert you AAC files, just go into iTunes and under Edit/Preferences/Importing just change that to be MP3 at 160k (or 128k if you prefer). Then, right click the songs you want to convert and and choose "Convert Selection to MP3". iTunes will then make another copy of the song on your hard drive but in the MP3 format. Then you can just move them to the PSP and delete them from your hard drive.

Just remember to go back into your prefs anc change them back to ACC when you are done converting ;)
Posted by Snowdog63 (44 comments )
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Too Late
It's already frustrating that you can't find a 1GB memory card. I haven't been able to find one for weeks. Everything is on backorder and no one has the slightest clue when a new shipment is supposed to be in and I've checked just about everywhere. I placed my backorder and hopefully I'll have it before the end of the year...what a complete joke!
Posted by (2 comments )
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In stock but for the cost of one arm and a leg
You can find it, but at about a 50% higher cost. I ordered mine 2 months ago from Buy.com and still no avail. Sandisk customer support was no help either.
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