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A 32MB SmartMedia flash memory card
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SmartMedia is an flash memory memory card standard owned by Toshiba. It was launched in the summer of 1995 to compete with MiniCard, CompactFlash, and PC Card format, when flash memory was still being pitched mainly as the successor to floppy disks.(This is before memory cards would become synonymous with digital cameras, mp3 players, and PDAs.) Originally named Solid State Floppy Disk Card (SSFDC), a SmartMedia card consists of a single NAND flash EEPROM chip embedded in a thin plastic card (though in some cases, more then one chip linked together in some higher capacity cards). Among the early memory cards of the 1990s, it was one of the smallest and the thinnest (.76 mm), and managed to maintain a favorable cost ratio as compared to the others. One of its features was the lack of a built-in controller in the card, which kept the cost down. This feature would cause problems however, since older devices would require firmware updates to be able handle larger versions of the card.

Typically, a SmartMedia card was used as storage media for a portable device, in a form that can easily be removed for access by a PC. For example, a digital camera would use a SmartMedia card for storing image files. With a SmartMedia reader (typically a small box that connects via USB or some other serial connection), a user could copy the pictures taken with the digital camera off to his or her computer. Modern computers, both laptops and desktops, will occasionally have SmartMedia slots built in. While dedicated SmartMedia readers have dropped off, readers that read multiple card types (such as 4 in 1, 10 in 1, etc) continue to include the format. Since these multi-card readers are becoming increasingly common, especially on new computers, the installed base of Smartmedia cards is still increasing and has never been larger as of 2005.

SmartMedia was popular in digital cameras, and reached its peak in about 2001 when it garnered nearly half of the digital camera market. It was backed especially by Fuji and Olympus, though the format starting to have problems. Namely, cards larger then 128 MB were not available and the compact digital cameras were reaching a size where even SmartMedia were big to be convienent. A further blow happened when Olympus switched to Secure Digital Cards, and it ceased to have major devices support after Olympus and Fuji both switched to xD. It did not find as much support in PDAs, mp3 players, or pagers as some formats (especially in North America and Europe), though there was still significant use.

SmartMedia cards larger then 128 MB have not been released, and some older devices cannot support cards larger than 32 MB without a firmware update (or at all in some cases), both of which contributed to their demise. There were, however, some rumors of a 256 MB card being planned, technical specifications for the memory size were released, and the cards (256 MB ones) were even advertised in some places.

Both Toshiba and Samsung and still make SmartMedia cards to be used in already-existing devices (up to 128 MB), and rebadged versions are still offered for sale by a wide variety of memory card makers including Lexar and Sandisk. A advantage that remains over some other formats is the ability to use any capacity of SmartMedia card in a standard 3.5" floppy drive by using a FlashPath adapter for the format.

SmartMedia cards come in two formats, 5V and 3.3V (sometimes marked 3V), named for their main supply voltages. The packaging is nearly identical, except for the reversed side of the mechanical orientation notched corner.

There is a oversized/external xD-Picture card to SmartMedia adapter, that allows to xD cards to use a SM port (but does not fit entirely inside a SM slot). There is a limit on how big of a xD card can be used in adapters (sometimes 128 MB or 256 MB), and the device is subject to the restrictions of the SmartMedia reader as well.


  • Weight: 2 g
  • Size: 45.0 37.0 0.76mm
  • Capacities: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 MB
  • Uses 16-Mbit, 32-Mbit, and 64-Mbit NAND-type flash memory chips
  • Flat electrode terminal with 22 pins - (32M & 64M compatible)
  • 8-bit I/O Interface (16-bit in some cases)
  • Data transfer rate: 2MB/S
  • 1,000,000 read/write cycles
  • ten year storage time without power
  • metallic write-protect sticker
  • Compatible with PCMCIA with an adapter
  • Compatible with CompactFlash Type II with an adapter
  • Compatible 3.5" Floppy drive using FlashPath adapter

See also

External links


  • SmartMedia details ( on PCMCIA site
  • SSFDC Forum (
  • [1] ( Pretect SmartMedia to Type II CompactFlash adapter
  • [2] ( Ritek Website SmartMedia product overview, with 256 MB card listed as largest size.
  • [3] ( SSFDC News Site with PDF document listing news of the 256 MB SmartMedia card technical specifications being released in SmartMedia NEWS 2002.1 NO.1
  • Verbatim page on a oversize xD to SM adapter (
  • Olympus Emporium page on xD/SM to PCMCIA adapter (

de:Smart Media Card ja:スマートメディア fr:Carte SM


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