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What Is a Flash Memory Card


Flash memory cards, often referred to simply as memory cards or flash cards, are small, portable storage devices which contain solid-state memory. It is called solid-state memory because there are no moving parts. Flash memory cards come in many different forms of varying physical sizes, but they all work in much the same way and fulfill the same purposes. Flash memory cards are used in many different types of electronic devices and, with prices dropping every month, they are becoming a more and more popular way of storing data on the move. Originally designed primarily for storing photos and videos on digital cameras, they are now used in smartphones, portable media players, PDAs, video game consoles and portable computers. They have many advantages over other types of media since they are small and can be written many times before their reliability decreases. Flash memory card readers are also standard on most of today's computers, so no extra hardware is required to use them.

The first type of flash memory cards were actually those used to expand the amount of available storage in laptop computers. These were called PC Cards and they were installed in PCMCIA sockets which used to be standard on almost all laptop computers. However, this socket was far more often used for adding things such as network cards, controller cards and other features to laptop computers than extra storage.

Flash memory cards are most well-known for their use in digital cameras and mobile phones. The most common type of flash memory card is Secure Digital (SD). Most digital cameras read these cards as do virtually all card readers built into laptop computers and other devices. SD cards are also available in three different sizes which are all compatible with each other thanks to the fact that the smaller ones are all provided with full-size adapters. High-end mobile phones, due to space restrictions, usually come equipped with a microSD card slot. Less common is the miniSD card which is slightly larger. Both microSD and miniSD cards can be inserted into any standard SD card reader through an adapter.

Other common types of flash memory cards include Memory Stick, CompactFlash, SmartMedia, MMC and xD-Picture Card. Most card readers are able to read all modern types of flash memory card.

 

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