What You Need to Know About SmartMedia Card Readers

SmartMedia is a type of flash memory card owned and operated by Toshiba. Introduced in 1995, the format can store anywhere between 2 megabytes and 128 megabytes of data at one time. These media card readers are designed to work with the SmartMedia format.

Why should you buy a SmartMedia card reader?

Before the market consolidated around SD cards, the SmartMedia format was commonly used to store data in digital cameras, PDAs, and other portable devices especially in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Fuji and Olympic digital cameras were some of the most popular devices to make use of the format. If you still have SmartMedia cards and need to transfer the data to your computer, then these card readers are the solution. If the reader says something like "x-in-1," then it can read other flash memory formats as well, such as SD cards or Memory Stick cards, so that you don't need to buy multiple proprietary readers for every single format. SmartMedia is also compatible with floppy drives, PC Card, and CompactFlash Type II with the right kind of adapter. You will find several types of affordable SmartMedia card readers on eBay.

What types of SmartMedia cards are available?

Two variations are available: a 5-volt card and a 3.3-volt card that may be marked somewhere on the card or the packaging. The two types are genuinely incompatible with each other. However, most modern SmartMedia card readers should be able to accept both types of voltages without any problems.

What is the SmartMedia format?

SmartMedia consists of something called a "NAND flash chip," which is used in most types of portable cards. Because it contains no moving mechanical parts, flash storage has the advantage of fast data transfer rates and reliable performance. It is less likely to break down from constant use. Besides the natural advantages conferred by the flash format, SmartMedia is also equipped with the following features.

  • Copy protection: Each SmartMedia card has a unique identification number that can authenticate it to prevent copy violations. The card may have the letters "ID" marked on the surface.
  • Small data blocks: SmartMedia can read and write data in small blocks of 256 bytes or 512 bytes at a time. This allows you to more precisely save smaller bytes of data where you want.
  • Write cycles: SmartMedia can endure up to a million write cycles with no problems. It also offers 10 years of storage time without power.