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What Is an SD Card Adapter?

A SD card.
SD cards can be used to store photos and video taken on digital cameras.
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  • Written By: T. Raleigh
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2014
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Many portable devices use Secure Digital (SD) cards. These cards are designed to be convenient for storing data and transferring it from one device to the next. Not all devices use the same size SD card, however, so an SD card adapter may be needed to overcome this problem. In most cases, the SD card slides into or is placed into an adapter that matches the electrical connections for the destination computer. This allows the use of the card inside a device designed for the different sized memory card.

An SD card is a type of flash memory for data storage in digital devices. On 25 August 1999, SanDisk Corporation, Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co., Ltd., and Toshiba Corporation announced their collaboration to develop this type of removable memory. These memory cards are often no larger than a postage stamp, and come in storage capacities ranging from 1 mb to 32 gb. This technology continues to develop, providing larger memory capacity in smaller packaging.

SD cards are available in three different physical sizes. A regular SD card is about the size of the postage stamp and was the original design created. Smaller versions include the miniSD and the microSD. The miniSD were introduced in 2003, and have the same large memory capacity but significantly smaller packaging than standard SD cards. In 2005, the microSD, which was one-fourth the size of the miniSD, appeared on the market.

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With the design of the microSD and the miniSD, the need for the SD card adapter became obvious. Many varieties of electronic devices use SD cards, including digital cameras, PDAs, mobile phones, and video game consoles. The SD card is one of the more popular formats for memory cards. Both the miniSD and microSD were targeted for the mobile phone industry. As the phones got smaller, the memory cards to support them needed to get smaller too.

Smaller cards are typically sent with an SD card adapter so they can be used in other SD memory card devices. The use of an SD card adapter makes it possible to transfer data between a smaller SD compatible device, like a cell phone, and a larger SD compatible device, like a computer. These adapters easily allow the sharing of video, music, pictures, and other data files between devices.

It is not usually necessary to buy an SD card adapter, as they are included with many smaller cards. Adapters can be purchased at most places that sell SD memory cards, however. This is convenient should an adapter become lost or misplaced.

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