Solid state memory or a solid state drive (SSD) is a device that uses no moving parts to store data. These devices can range from 8Mb all the way up to 32Gb. Many electronic devices, from digital cameras to cellular phones, can be expanded to store data on flash memory card. These cards are solid state devices that are usually little larger than a postage stamp, but can contain several Megabytes of data. The different types of memory that are available depend on the manufacturer of the device and size (both physical and storage size).
Many manufacturers produce flash drives, which are solid state memory devices that plug into standard USB ports on computer systems. These are usually small and can be attached to a key ring or lanyard for portability. When connected to a computer, the flash drive will typically appear as another drive mounted on the system where data can be stored.
Another type of solid state memory device that has become popular is the flash memory card, which is typically about the size of a postage stamp (or smaller, depending on the manufacturer and type of SSD). These memory cards are typically used in digital cameras, mobile phones, or other portable electronic devices for fast data storage. Some companies, such as Sony electronics, have their own proprietary memory cards or memory sticks that are typically only compatible with devices made by the same company, but they work just like any other manufacturer's flash memory.
Some newer electronic devices, including MP3 players and even some computers, have solid state drives built right into them. This removes moving internal parts from the devices and reduces wear on them due to movement of heads to read and write information.
The prices of removable solid state memory continue to fall as newer technologies are introduced to the marketplace; however, computers that rely entirely on solid state technology continue to be on the high end of this trend because fully solid state computing is relatively new. As this catches on, the prices here will come down and more people will try computers with few or no moving parts.
For now, the data storage and portability provided by solid state memory devices will continue to make them one of the most practical and affordable methods of data storage. In many cases, the flash drive is beginning to replace the floppy disk drive as the media is cheaper, easier to use, and holds far more data than the floppy disks that were introduced when the PC first took off.