Memory Card Types- CompactFlash, Memory Stick, SDHC, SDXC

How to choose an SD card

Today we are living in a world where technology is growing day by day and everyday technology brings you at a new level. And we are becoming more prone to use all these new technologies because they are actually making your life much easier than it was it used to be.


People have to keep going with lots of things in their mind and gather more and more from their surrounding by with every passing day. As they can’t remember everything at every time they want it that to store safely at some place as a document, picture, etc.  where they could access easily at any time they want. To do so they needed some storage media and what else could be the better than a memory card; compact in size, easy to carry and what makes it the best is its compatibility with a maximum number of devices. So let’s start to know about them.


What is Flash or Memory Card

It is a small chip size electronic device used for data storage and commonly known as memory card even also as a memory chip. This device is widely used in mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, DSLRs and even in some video cameras and in various electronic devices like synthesizers, electronic keyboards, etc. This is the best and feasible option for those who want to expand memory of their device.


Roland Moreno was the first person who designed a circuit that could store electronic data some confidentially and could be read and altered by a scanner. He was a French inventor and an engineer, only 29 years old on 1974 when he came up with his circuit design. His diagram became the basis for the smart card, the tiny computer microprocessor embedded in plastic that is now found in bank debit cards, mobile phone SIM cards, transit tickets, passports and other ID cards.

After that in 1980, Dr. Fujio Masuoka invented the flash or memory card while working for Toshiba circa. The name “Flash” was suggested by Mr. Shoji Ariizumi, who was the colleague of Dr. Masuoka because the deletion process of the memory contents reminded him of the flash of a camera. Dr. Masuoka presented his invention at the IEEE 1984 international Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) held in San Francisco, California.


Types of Memory Cards:

There are several different types of memory cards on the basis of their shape and size.

1. CompactFlash Cards: They were first introduced by SanDisk in 1994, which comes in two variants (Type I and Type II). CF cards  differs from other types of memory cards because they have a controller chip inside the card, whereas other types have not, the controller chip is a part of the device with which the card is used.

2. SmartMedia cards: They were introduced in 1995 and were very popular in their day, but fallen into disuse; because of their internal memory architecture which had the capacity of only a maximum of 128 MB. They were also very thin and more prone to damage from bending as compared to other types. This leads to arising of two new formats SecureDigital card format and xD-Picture card format.


3. xD-Picture cards: They were launched by Fuji film and Olympus in 2002. They had advantages over SD cards at that time because of its smaller size and its internal memory design, meant that it had a theoretical maximum capacity of 8 GB, whereas the largest SD cards at that time were 512 MB.

4. SecureDigital cards: They were launched in 1999 by Panasonic, Toshiba, and SanDisk, based on the existing MultiMedia Card (MMC) format launched two years earlier by SanDisk and Siemens. In 2006, a new type of SD card was announced SDHC (High Capacity) format capable of more than 2 GB with faster read/write speed than standard SD cards.


5. Memory Stick: Sony has its own proprietary memory card format that is ‘Memory Stick’ which was launched in 1998 but has the same 128 MB limit as the SmartMedia card, so Sony later introduced the Memory Stick Pro in 2003 (in collaboration with SanDisk), which is faster and has a higher capacity. Sony went on to introduced more advanced products like Memory Stick Pro Duo similar to SD card, even smaller Memory Stick Micro, much faster Memory Stick Pro HG and so on.


The most widely used and most demanded card type of all-time is the SD cards, and the reason behind that its compatibility with the devices used by most of the common people, other types of xD-Picture & memory sticks are more likely to be used in specific devices or by professionals only. SD card comes in different variants which are as follows:

The one you may easily find it on your mobile phone and recently in trends is microSDHC and micro SDXC cards due to its compatibility with most of the devices. They are available in different classes and sizes. You may also have seen some symbols are written on the memory cards which describe their different class and speed range types and in the next article, I will tell you about them. Thanks for reading and I hope you have enjoyed the article. See you in my next article.