The Death of the Smartmedia Memory Card

by : james dalton

If you are one of those people that still have devices that use the SmartMedia memory cards, then your time with the devices may be running out. The once popular memory card is closing in to the end of its life span. This is a result of many factors that make the SmartMedia card uncompetitive and irrelevant in today's technological crazy world.

SmartMedia memory was released in 1995 by Toshiba. It was the first flash memory card available to the mass consumer market. This small form factor designed storage device was a far cry from the 3.5" diskettes that were the standard a decade ago. The introduction of SmartMedia cards was the start of the new digital area for the storage of data.

The decline in SmartMedia cards began once the electronic devices that used these memory cards started getting smaller. At 45.0 mm × 37.0 mm × 0.76 mm the SmartMedia card was smaller than the 3.5" floppy disks it replaced in the past. In today's market that size is considered massive. The smaller electronic devices needed a smaller storage device and the SmartMedia was not it. The electronic device industry started shying away from the older flash technology and embraced wholeheartedly Secure Digital (SD) memory cards. More and more devices were being built that used the smaller and more advanced form of flash memory. With the switch in standard memory formats manufacturers cut back on development of SmartMedia cards. This resulted in a death blow to the once popular device

Another even that contributed to the decline in was the switch of Fuji and Olympus from using the SmartMedia card as their standard storage device. Fuji and Olympus had half of the digital camera market in the early 2000's. When they switched to the smaller , it spelled doom for the SmartMedia. It didn't help that SmartMedia cards maximum size was 128 MB. With memory demand at an all time high, 128 MB is a thing of the past. There are no plans to increase the size of the memory in the future, so this decision has more or less sealed SmartMedia cards fate.

SmartMedia has served its purpose and had a good run of over a decade. Its contribution to the technology sector has been highly lauded as it was the first. It will be remembered as the device that took us into the future. It is now in the twilight of its illustrious career and in a few years it will be no more. Users of this media format still have 1 or 2 more years before the SmartMedia is officially on life support. It is still being manufactured and devices that use the format are still around. It can however be said that SmartMedia is as good as dead in the future. The size does not fit in today's minute world. Smaller is better in today's devices and SmartMedia does not have the luxury of being small. The fact that SmartMedia is only available up to 128 MB is instrumental in helping with its demise. Electronic devices today require so much more space and at the limited sizes SmartMedia just does not compute.