For several decades now, digital storage has been improving in speed, size and cost-to-capacity ratio. It’s improving in just about every way and, joyously, is becoming ever more affordable. If only the same could be said for the food in our supermarkets these days, the human race would be in good shape. That said, as pop culture from the 1980’s resurfaces in cringe-inducing abundance all around us, we can take some nostalgia from the era as we discuss flash memory technology.
Dr. Fujio Masuoka is the man responsible and we’d like to pay some homage to him for starting off the exciting endeavour as he worked for Toshiba in the 80’s. While people were wearing denim dungarees and listening to either cheesy metal or old-school Madonna, he was busy forging the electronics heritage for the Micro SD Card. This tiny miracle of a piece of hardware is scarcely wider than a couple of matchheads, considerably thinner than an After Eight mint and yet can hold 32GB of data and transfer it at 10MB/sec. How is that even possible on something the same size as a pinky fingernail?
Anyone who used digital storage mediums in the 1990s may remember the feeling of holding a 2MB Compact Flash memory and marvelling at how the manufacturer had managed such an astonishing feat of engineering. To put things into perspective for you, a Micro SD card takes up just 3% of the volume that the old Compact Flash cards did, yet can hold 32,000 times more data. When these bits of tech increase in capacity further still, you’re looking at some digits which make Moore’s Law look quite tame by comparison. These cards have reached such a small size, that the bottleneck is now human carelessness because, let’s face it, if they were any smaller, we’d be losing them left right and centre.
These tiny miracles are, perhaps, one of the electronics engineering icons of our era and this article would like to salute Dr. Masuoka for founding something truly remarkable back in the 80s that definitely won’t make us cringe when we’re confronted with it.
A Word of Warning for Purchasing Micro SD Cards
While 10MB/sec speeds are possible with this storage medium, not all Micro SD cards are created equal. If you see a manufacturer offering “unbelievable discounts” from £150 down to £10, then it’s probably correct in its sentiment that it’s not to be believed. The Class 2 for example is a lot slower than a Class 10 Micro SD card and the speed in MB/sec corresponds directly to the class number. If someone is touting super low prices for the capacity, always check the speed is what you want it to be. Furthermore, be especially careful if purchasing your card from eBay as it’s all too easy to swap the stickers over and sell high volume of cards over a short space of time to get some positive feedback reviews before closing up shop when the scam gets busted.
Amy Paige is a tech writer. She’s extremely experienced in giving fantastic tech tutorials including those on how to do memory card recovery operations.