All About SmartMemory Card

Written by John Harris, Updated on October 11, 2023

SmartMedia Card

SmartMedia Cards are flash memory cards developed by Toshiba in 1995. They consist of flash memory chips and are used in handheld PCs, PDAs, cell phones, digital cameras, and digital music players, among other devices. Their competitors were Compact Flash card , Mini Cards, and PC Cards.

SmartMedia Card Specifications

The SmartMedia card had a smaller capacity, ranging from 2MB to 128MB, and is about the size of 45mm x 37mm x .76mm dimensions, weighing 2 grams, with a transfer speed of 2MB/s. They were available in 3.3 and 5-volt variations and do not require assembly in manufacture as they come in chip packages.

These cards usually do not have an incorporated controller. The cards can be plugged into a SmartMedia socket or into a standard Type II PC Card slot with a PC Card adapter while connecting to the PC for transferring the files.

SmartMedia cards can be used in a standard 3.5" floppy drive by means of a FlashPath adapter. This is the only known way of obtaining flash memory functionality with old hardware and is also SmartMedia’s most distinctive feature.

SmartMedia Card Formats

SmartMedia uses a 22-pin port, physical format, and logical format.

Physical format: It ensures the compatibility of different devices. This physical format is a FAT standard based on ATA and DOS files, which makes data exchange easier between different systems. However, the configuration of the physical format is different and will be based on different page sizes.

Logical format: This format uses the DOS-FAT format that has the cylinder head sector parameters, the main sectors, partition, etc.

SmartMedia works under two types of voltages: 3.3 volts and 5 volts. However, it doesn't support two types of voltage at the same time.

Advantages and Disadvantages of SmartMedia Card


  • SmartMedia cards are thin and small making them ideal for portable devices.
  • It uses a NAND flash memory chip that allows it to perform fast read and write operations.
  • SmartMedia card reads and writes data in small blocks so that you can precisely select what information to save on this type of technology.


  • They aren't as robust as other formats, requiring more careful handling and storage.
  • The FlashPath technology required special drivers to be installed, offering only very basic file read/write capability and was limited to floppy disk transfer speeds.
  • SmartMedia cards are not supported by many devices, making it difficult to use them.

ALSO READ: Click on the link to learn about SmartMedia Card Recovery.


SmartMedia cards are reported for corruption frequently and become unusable. SmartMedia cards didn’t get any updates hence they are not as popular as they were in the 2000s. Nowadays SD cards are the go-to memory cards as they offer more speed, compatibility, and storage than SmartMedia cards.

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