Glossary definition of Memory Card

Memory Card is the name given to several different types of small electronic storage device, which are used to store data in a wide variety of handheld and portable equipment, including mobile phones, cameraphones, digital cameras, laptop computers, PDAs, MP3 players, and game consoles. The cards are typically used to supplement the storage capacity of the devices into which they are inserted, and they often hold data such as games, video, pictures, audio, and text files.

These cards have several advantages over other forms of memory system (e.g. the hard disk drive), because they are much smaller, lighter in weight, have faster access times, and consume less power. Another practical advantage is that they are solid-state, i.e. no moving parts, and so can withstand more extreme environments of shock, vibration and temperature.

A number of different memory card formats have been developed, varying in size between a postage stamp and a book of matches, and this variation in format was often due to the fact that manufacturers designed cards to suit their own products. Some of the important types of memory card are:

CompactFlash card (CF card) Extreme Digital Card (xD card) Memory Stick MultiMedia Card (MMC) SmartMedia card (SM card) Secure Digital card (SD card)

Each type of card is produced in a range of memory sizes, and the card's price normally increases in proportion to its storage capacity. The relatively high sales price of these cards is a disadvantage, as they are considerably more expensive than the hard disk drive, which for the same cost can store maybe several hundred times more data. Considering cost and technical restraints, the maximum practical size limit for any of these cards appears to be currently 2 GB (2004).

Memory cards may also be called flash memory cards, because most of them use a technology referred to as 'flash memory'.

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