CompactFlash (CF) is a data storage device that uses the flash memory in a standardized enclosure. On a CF there is the memory as well as the controller (the electronic that writes and read the memory) and so the CF can be read by older devices as well.
Flash memory devices are non-volatile and solid state, and thus are more robust than disk drives, and consume around 5% of the power required by small disk drives. They operate at 3.3 volts or 5 volts, and can be swapped from system to system. CF cards with flash memory are able to cope with extremely rapid changes in temperature. Industrial versions of flash memory cards can operate at a range of -45°C to +85°C. CF devices are used in handheld and laptop computers (which may or may not take larger form-factor cards), digital cameras, and a wide variety of other devices, including desktop computers.