Definition

SmartMedia card

A SmartMedia card (originally called a solid-state floppy disk card, or SSFDC) is a memory card developed by Toshiba that uses flash memory to store data and to make it portable among devices, such as digital cameras, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and other handheld devices. At 45 X 37 mm and less than 1 mm thick (about as big as a matchbook), SmartMedia is similar in size to the CompactFlash card (although significantly thinner), but larger than the newer, postage stamp-sized alternatives, MultiMediaCard and Secure Digital (SD card). SmartMedia cards are available with storage capacities ranging up to 128MB, with higher capacities corresponding to higher prices.

A SmartMedia (SM) card consists of a flash memory chip connected to a plane electrode by bonding wires, all of which are embedded in a resin casing, through a process known as over-molded thin package (OMTP). The resulting module is glued to a base card. When the card is inserted into a device, the electrode carries power and data to the flash memory chip. Unlike CompactFlash, SmartMedia doesn't have an on-board controller. Compliant devices have a controller built into the units' slots.

The main advantage that SmartMedia cards have over the other memory cards is that because they read, write, and erase memory in small blocks of data (256 or 512 bytes at a time), you can more precisely select what data you want to save. However, SmartMedia cards aren't as sturdy as the other formats, and so require more careful handling and storage.

This was last updated in April 2005

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