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Flash Memory in Cell Phones


Flash memory is a type of portable data storage medium, used in both portable media devices (including cell phones and PDAs) and USB memory sticks. Flash memory uses solid-state technology, relying solely on electrical pulses to edit and rewrite data. This solid-state property means that flash memory chips have no moving parts, making them both lighter and more durable: flash memory can take high amounts of physical shock and stress without damage to data. In addition, flash memory does not consume device power and has a high data to card-size ratio, making it one of the main data storage technologies used for on-board memory in cell phones today.

Most flash memory cards use NAND Flash technology, which optimizes the layout of transistors to allow for greater storage capacity on each chip. These flash memory chips are often used as on-board memory for cell phones, in particular for smartphones and multimedia phones which require more storage to supplement their added functionality. Flash memory cards also provide removable capacity for cell phones: the solid-state floppy disk card, or SmartMedia card, is the most popular of these, being a lot smaller than its main alternative, the CompactFlash (CF) card. However, SmartMedia cards have limited data storage capacity, with a maximum storage size of 128mb per card.

Flash memory is used for on-board memory in all major cell phone brands, with over 700 million cell phone chips expected to be in circulation in 2010. Apple’s iPhone uses more NAND Flash memory than any other cell phone device on the market, and plans to increase the iPhone’s storage capacity have prompted concern over a potential flash-memory shortage this year.

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