SmartMedia Card

SmartMedia Card is an ultra-compact flash memory cards developed by Toshiba in 1995. It consists of a flash memory chips and are used in handheld PCs, PDAs, cell phones, digital cameras, and digital music players etc.

The SmartMedia card had a smaller capacity that is ranging from 2MB to 128MB, and is about the size of 45mm x 37mm x .76mm dimension. They were available in 3.3 and 5 volt variations and do not require assembly in manufacture as they were come in chip package. 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 a SmartMedia’s most distinctive features.

SmartMedia uses 22 pins 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 the data exchange easier between different systems. But the configuration of physical format is different and will be based on different page size.
  • Logical format: This format uses DOS-FAT format that has the cylinder head sector parameters, the main sectors, and partition, etc.

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

Specifications of SmartMedia cards:

  • Weight: 2 g
  • Size: 45.0 × 37.0 × 0.76 mm
  • Capacities: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 MB
  • Uses 16-Mbit, 32-Mbit, and 64-Mbit Toshiba TC58-compatible NAND-type flash memory chips
  • Flat electrode terminal with 22 pins — (32M & 64M compatible)
  • Data transfer rate: 2MB/s
  • metallic write-protect sticker
  • Compatible with PCMCIA with an adapter
  • Compatible with CompactFlash Type II with an adapter
  • Compatible with 3.5" Floppy drive using FlashPath adapter


Because of its small and thin structure, SmartMedia card is the ideal removable memory card for majority of the portable devices. Moreover, it is equipped with a NAND flash memory chip developed mainly for file storage, this enables SmartMedia to perform write / erase activity fast. If you use a PC card adaptor, SmartMedia functions as a PC card standardized by PCMCIA / JEIDA.

The main advantage that SmartMedia cards have over the other memory cards is that they can read, write, and erase memory in small blocks of data i.e. 256 or 512 bytes at a time. So that one can more precisely select what data you want to save.


  • SmartMedia cards lack the controller chip hence users have to install controller facility making the compatibility poorer
  • They aren't as robust as the other formats, and so require more careful handling and storage
  • The flash Path technology required special drivers to be installed and was offering only very basic file read/write capability and was limited to floppy disk transfer speeds
  • Their sizes were limited up to 128MB and also 5V cards might not work in some cameras

In case if you lose files from SmartMedia card, then don't feel sad as you can easily perform SmartMedia card recovery by following the given link.

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