Flash memory, which stores digital information on a device with no moving parts, is one of the major options for storing information from a computer or external device. Although flash memory is generally more expensive than magnetic hard drive storage, it is becoming more competitive and offers some distinct advantages.
One of the biggest advantages of flash memory cards is their small size. While traditional hard drives must be large enough to contain the motors, heads and other mechanical components they need to read and write data, flash memory cards have no moving parts and can be build on a very small scale. Mini- and micro-secure digital, or SD, cards are even smaller than standard flash memory cards, making them ideal for use in small portable devices such as cell phones and digital cameras.
Like other devices that use flash memory, flash memory cards are very durable. The lack of moving parts means fewer opportunities for mechanical failure. Flash memory cards are also tolerant to magnetism, shock and heat or cold. There is no physical media that can become scratched or unreadable.
Flash memory cards also consume very little power. This makes them an attractive choice for devices that use batteries, since the lack of moving parts means increased battery life and time between recharges. From an environmental perspective, flash memory cards allow for less overall power consumption in the devices that use them for storage.
Flash memory cards continue to grow in terms of capacity. While 1 gigabyte cards were the top-of-the-line in the mid-2000s, 8, 16 and 32 GB cards, using the same technology and an identical form factor, became common just a few years later. With even larger drives on the way, flash memory cards to be useful in computers and portable devices for years to come.