Mini SD Memory Card

Michael Kwan
miniSD memory card

If you love packing plenty of memory in an incredibly small form factor, you can't help but have a big soft spot for miniSD memory cards. When standard-sized Secure Digital (SD) memory cards first hit the market everyone thought they were tiny, and then in 2003, Sandisk Corporation unveiled the miniSD, a card that that half the weight and one-third the volume of its larger predecessor. Of course, since then, we have seen the emergence of an even tinier memory format -- the microSD format -- but several cell phones new and old still make use of miniSD cards to expand their memory.

miniSD Memory Cards

The miniSD format (the lowercase "m" is the official way to spell it) was unveiled by Sandisk at the 2003 CeBIT (Centrum der Büro- und InformationsTechnik, or Centre for office and information technology) trade show, one of the world's largest computer expos. It was quickly adopted by the SD Association, expanding the SD family beyond the standard-sized card. The SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) and microSD formats were also added later on.

Like microSD cards, miniSD cards are typically sold with an adapter. The miniSD card goes into the standard SD-sized adapter so that it can be ready by regular memory card readers. In this way, miniSD memory can be used both in devices that are designed for it specifically, as well as those that require standard SD.

The initial design for miniSD cards had a theoretical cap of one gigabyte (1GB). Capacities have since risen to as high as four gigabytes, so devices that were designed for use with miniSD cards may require firmware updates and upgrades in order to properly make use of the extra storage. These updates are typically available from the manufacturers' websites free of charge.

What Can You Store?

The two most common uses for miniSD cards, in mobile phones anyways, are to store:

When it comes to smartphones, additional functionality can also be enjoyed, like extra Java applications and other software. Other popular uses for miniSD cards include Cell Phone Ringtones and Cell Phone Games.

Specifications and Details

miniSD memory cards measure 20mm x 21.5mm x 1.4mm for an effective volume of 589 cubic millimeters (by comparison, standard SD cards and microSD cards are 1,596 and 165 cubic millimeters, respectively). With each generation, Sandisk managed to cut the weight in half. Standard SD cards are 2 grams, whereas miniSD cards are but one gram. Interestingly, miniSD cards have more pins (11) than SD cards (9), but they lack terminal guards and write-protect switches.

Cell Phones That Use miniSD Cards

There are many mobile phones that expand their internal memory by making use of a miniSD memory card slot. Some of the more popular handsets include:

  • Nokia N80, E70, N93, N73, 6282, E61, E62
  • NEC N840
  • Toshiba TS803
  • Qtek 8100
  • BenQ-Siemens EF51
  • Motorola Q

Popular Manufacturers

Just like standard Secure Digital cards, there are many notable companies that manufacture miniSD cards. Here are a few of the best-known.

  • Sandisk
  • Lexar
  • CoreMicro
  • Transcend
  • Corsair
  • Kingston

Be Wary of Counterfeits

Buying things on eBay can store you big deals, and Buying Cell Phones on eBay is no different. Cell phone accessories -- miniSD memory cards, in this case -- can be a little risky, however. There are several counterfeit and/or faulty items being sold on eBay: some memory cards purchase may appear to be "real" Sandisk, but are simply cheaply made replicas that have an additional sticker on top; others may be sold as four gigabyte cards, but are actually two gigabyte cards in disguise. As with anything on eBay, the same warning applies: caveat emptor, buyer beware.

Mini SD Memory Card