Dragonball, Memory Stick to pair up

Motorola's Dragonball processors will soon support Sony's Memory Stick, potentially expanding the market for the removable storage shaped like a stick of gum.

Motorola's Dragonball processors will soon support Sony's Memory Stick, potentially expanding the market for the removable storage shaped like a stick of gum.

Motorola's announcement on Wednesday expands the number of manufacturers that may choose to adopt the Memory Stick and could be a stepping-stone for the 2-year-old storage technology as it tries to gain momentum among developers and consumers.

Dragonball processors are found in more than 25 million devices and are inside about 75 percent of handhelds, including all those that use the Palm operating system. Memory Stick is similar to CompactFlash and Smart Media, two other brands of removable storage used in digital cameras and handhelds.

All new Dragonball processors introduced this year will support Memory Stick, Motorola said. This includes two new Dragonball processors expected to be announced June 12. On that day, new products using Sony removable storage will also be unveiled.

One of the two new processors will be based on Motorola's 68K processor core. The second will be Motorola's first use of an ARM core.

Motorola's announcement in December about its use of a new core came after Palm, one of its key customers, indicated plans to use processors based on ARM technology. Palm has not publicly committed to any manufacturer.

In a possible attempt to further entice Palm, Motorola is expected to announce support for a second expansion technology, in addition to Memory Stick. Motorola plans to make the announcement in mid-summer, Motorola spokesman Kyle Harper said.

Harper would not confirm whether the second technology will be Secure Digital, the expansion technology used in Palm's m500 line of handhelds, but called it a logical choice.

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