- What's Flash Memory?
- NOR/NAND Flash Memory
- Memory cards: Form defines function
- What is CompactFlash?
- What is Microdrive?
- What is Memory Stick?
- What is SD/MMC/RS-MMC/MMC Micro/miniSD/MicroSD?
- What is Smart Media?
- What is XD-Picture card?
- Flash Drives with everything
What is Smart Media?
Smart Media is the oldest of the portable media formats still in (limited) use today, dating back to 1995. Originally envisaged as part portable media device, part replacement floppy -- hence its initial weighty nomenclature of Solid State Floppy Disk Card (SSFDC), it is notable for the now restrictive size limitations on individual cards -- which top out at 128MB -- and the fact that at 0.76mm thick, it's the thinnest of the portable memory card formats. Despite no longer being manufactured, Smart Media continues to enjoy a healthy user-base thanks to the proliferation of multi-card readers in PCs and desktops.
What is XD-Picture card?
XD-Picture card is a standard card jointly developed by Olympus and Fujifilm, so it should come as little surprise that Olympus and Fujifilm digital cameras are the primary places you'll find the tiny (20x25x1.78mm) card in use. XD (stands for eXtreme Digital) cards come in sizes from 16MB up to 2GB, with read/write speeds that vary from 5MBps/1.3MBps up to 3MBps/5MBps. However, the highest capacity cards (over 512MB) use a different internal architecture that gives them extra capacity but this comes at the expense of lower read/write speeds and some compatibility issues with certain older cameras.
Flash Drives with everything
Storage availability within memory cards has risen over the years, but there's also a class of products that do more than offer memory card storage. One of the most popular additional features to add to a flash memory card is wireless network connectivity. Memory cards are available from a variety of manufacturers across different memory card formats that support Wi-Fi access, although you'll need a device (usually a PDA or smartphone) that will actively support Wi-Fi connections. It's not purely limited to the PDA world, however, as Sony used to offer a Wi-Fi Memory Stick for its now locally discontinued Aibo Robot Dog.
The one thing to bear in mind with any feature-enhanced memory card is that all the extra functionality comes at a price, usually in the amount of power that the device needs to draw.