The xD-Picture card was introduced in 2002 by Fuji Film and Olympus as a replacement to the older SmartMedia card. It was originally produced exclusively by Toshiba and can be found branded originally under the name of Fujifilm and Olympus only.
The xD-Picture card format was developed to be used by digital cameras and is more or less used by Fujifilm and Olympus digital cameras. Like the SmartMedia card, the xD-Picture card does not incorporate a controller chip which allows it to have small form factor but at the same time making it dependable to the host device's controller chip.
This memory card is not that popular by digital camera manufactures since they have to incorporate the controller chip into the electronic device, which adds costs and volume. In 2005 a new version of xD-Picture card was introduced called Type M. This uses Multi-Level Cell technology in contrast to the Single-Level Cell technology that standard xD-Picture cards are use. This makes the xD-Picture card Type M less expensive in exchange of being less high performance in terms of lower transfer speeds (read 4 MB/sec and write 2.5 MB/sec), lower cell endurance and higher power consumption.
In late 2005 another version of the xD-Picture card was introduced, Type H, offering higher transfer speeds. Type H is 2 to 3 times faster than the standard or Type M version, the exact transfer speed depends on the digital camera. In most of the cases the different versions of the xD-Picture card are compatible with each other, but not always. We recommend you to look at the digital camera's manual if you want to find out the versions that your digital camera is compatible with.
Some memory card readers may require firmware upgrades for the Type M card, otherwise they will not be able to work with the memory card. Fujifilm branded xD-Picture cards do not support the panoramic mode that can be found on Olympus digital cameras. For being able to use that feature you will need an Olympus branded xD-Picture card.
In 2008 Type H was dropped due to low sales.
Fujifilm and Olympus cameras now also come with either a Compact Flash slot in addition to an xD slot, or with an SD slot, due to the xD card’s low performance in comparison with cameras now available in 2010. Therefore the xD card technology is unlikely to be developed further and the maximum available to be 2GB, even though 8GB is technically possible.