Guide to SmartMedia cards, introduced as Solid State Floppy Disk Cards (SSFDC)

The SmartMedia memory card format was one of the earliest, introduced by Toshiba in 1995, when it was referred to as the Solid State Floppy Disk Card (SSFDC). It was launched shortly after the CompactFlash (CF) and of much the same size but a lot thinner, at 0.76mm rather than the 3.3mm of Type I CF cards. The other main competitors at the time were full size PC Card (PCMCIA) memory cards and the MiniCard format, which disappeared even faster than SmartMedia. One previously unique feature of the SmartMedia format that made it into the xD card format, was the imprint of a unique ID in each card along with an encryption key, allowing software to identify each card and act accordingly. This conformed to the Secure Digital Music Interface (SDMI) standard and was intended to act as a copy-protection mechanism at the application level, particularly for downloaded music, but only found very limited use, particularly since the SDMI initiative failed and folded in 2001. As with CompactFlash, the target market for SmartMedia was in the emerging portable devices that all had to store digital data and transfer it to PCs to be manipulated, or simply for safekeeping. PDAs and digital cameras were the two most frequently used devices but early navigation devices and early digital voice recorders also used the format. In order to transfer data to a PC the card can be inserted into a USB-enabled card reader or a PC Card-based adapter. Although the SmartMedia format is now considered obsolete and no dedicated card readers are available, many multi-format card readers will accept SmartMedia cards (but...

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