Author(s): Raghu Gopal
This week, Samsung announced a removable data storage card that could eventually replace the microSD card.
It's the first removable memory card based on the Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 1.0 Card Extension Standard. The cards will be available in a range of storage capacities and could be used in cameras, drones, robots, virtual reality headsets and ultimately smartphones. The specification should bring a significant performance boost to the external memory storage market.
Samsung has been a major contributor to the standardisation work for Universal Flash Storage within the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association and has led with a series of product launches.
Samsung's new storage card is expected to provide an improved user experience, especially in high-resolution 3D gaming and high-definition movie playback. The card provides more than five times faster sequential read performance compared with a typical microSD card. For example, users will be able to read a full high-definition movie in 10 seconds, compared with 50 seconds that UHS-1 microSD cards take to accomplish this. The write speeds are also several times faster than microSD cards, which could be particularly beneficial to users of DSLR cameras.
Samsung says that faster storage is needed now, owing to the ubiquity of high-resolution footage being generated by devices such as smartphones, action cameras, drones and 360-degree cameras.The Universal Flash Storage standard has appeared as embedded memory in a few devices (for example, Samsung's Galaxy S6 and S6 edge phones), but there are no products yet that support the card as removable storage. It will fit only in specific slots and is not backward compatible with microSD.
It's not clear when devices will begin supporting the new card but the faster write speeds could give device makers enough reason to shift toward Universal Flash Storage over the ubiquitous microSD. You can be sure that Samsung will quickly look to introduce this format on future devices, but it will take time for these storage solutions "on steroids" to be a mass-market consumer product.