What you need to know about Compact Flash Cards

If you’ve never heard about Compact Flash Cards before, don’t despair and don’t be embarrassed. You are not alone. Although they have been around for just over fifteen years, Compact Flash Cards tend to be much more popular with young people (who know what they are and what they can do) than with older folks who grew up and came of age before the advent of computers and advanced digital technology.

Compact Flash CardAnyway, Compact Flash Cards are mass storage devices used in portable electronic equipment for the purpose of rapid data transfer, usually from a digital device like a camera to the personal computer sitting on your desk at home.  The Compact Flash Card uses “Flash Memory” to perform its “electronic magic” and it works remarkably well.

Interestingly, there were no Compact Flash Cards in existence prior to 1994. It was in that year when SanDisk, a digital technology company, created the first Compact Flash Card. Sleek, slim, stylish and reliable, it became the most successful of the early memory card formats, performing much better in the American marketplace than such rivals as the Miniature Card, Smart Media, PC Card Types and others.

These early competitors were also good, but they were definitely not as good – or as popular – as Compact Flash Cards. Real competition showed up a few years later when such new innovations as Memory Sticks, Mini SDMMC and xD-Picture Cards became available. These new memory devices were much more formidable and, as a result, captured larger shares of the market for memory devices.

One reason for their success had to do with their size. This new generation of “Memory Cards” was smaller and lighter than the Compact Flash Card, but still managed to “pack the same punch.” In other words, these new cards offered the same capacity and read/write speed as the larger Compact Flash Cards.

Consumers liked the smaller, more compact cards … and they bought them. However, even during this commercial onslaught, Compact Flash Cards managed to remain popular, a fact that is still true today. In fact, in 2008, just a couple of years ago, Sony Corporation chose the Compact Flash Card as the recording media for use in its new tapeless video recorder.

More recently, in 2010, Canon selected the Compact Flash Card as a key component for use in its new High Definition Video Cameras. Obviously, the past has been rewarding and the future remains bright for the Compact Flash Card. Even as new, smaller, occasionally faster memory devices hit the market, the amazing Compact Flash Card is able to stay popular with consumers … very popular.  CF cards are also seeing new uses for document storage as easy to use keyboards have become prevalent on mobile devices.  Document storage is more than just a physical requirement, scanning and storing documents electronically is a far more effective medium for document retention and management.

Will this trend continue into the future? The answer has to be a cautious yes; cautious, only because the technology for this product category is advancing so rapidly, there is no telling what lies ahead in the not-too-distant future, perhaps even this year.

Meantime, if you’re using Compact Flash Cards, enjoy the convenience they provide. They figure to be around for a long time, regardless of what new technology hits the marketplace.