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What is Flash Memory?

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Definition:

Flash Memory - Flash memory is a type of memory used for storing data on mobile devices.

Flash memory is what's called solid state memory. As opposed to hard drives, which are made of spinning platters that store data and an arm that accesses the platters to the read the data, flash memory is a single, solid chip with no moving parts. Because of this, it's more durable, less likely to break or skip when dropped or jostled, and transfers data at a faster speed. Flash memory is also much smaller than a hard drive, often less than the size of a piece of gum and offering a smaller weight.

As a result of its small size and light weight, it is often used in mobile devices where those factors are at a premium. It is also beginning to be used in traditional computers, like the Macbook Air.

For many years, Flash memory didn't afford large capacity storage at prices competitive with hard drives. Advances in technology, and the benefits provided by Flash memory, have combined to drive increases in the capacity of Flash memory and reduce its cost.

Capacity
The largest single Flash memory chip available stores 256GB. Hard drives, by comparison, regular offer multi-terabyte (1,000GB) capacities.

Used in:
iPod Shuffle
iPod Mini
iPod nano
iPod touch
iPhone iPad
2nd generation Apple TV

Not Adobe Flash
Despite having a similar name, Flash memory has no relationship to Adobe Flash, the audio and video technology widely used on the web, but not available on the iOS. Flash memory is used with many iOS devices, while Adobe Flash isn't compatible.

Other Uses of Flash Memory
Flash memory is used in many circumstances and devices besides iPods, iPhones, and iPads. The memory cards used in digital cameras are Flash memory (some of these cards are called Compact Flash cards). USB sticks (aka jump drives and thumb drives) also use Flash memory.

More on Flash memory at Wikipedia.

Also Known As: Flash, Flash memory, Compact Flash, NAND flash
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