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New standard of flash memory promises to be the ‘SSD for smartphones’

Soon, the speed of internal memory of smartphones, and even of external memory cards, may be equivalent to what you see on newer computers with SSD. All thanks to UFS 3.0, the new standard made by the Jedec group, specializing in microelectronics technology, this week.

UFS 3.0 is the evolution of UFS 2.1, a type of flash memory designed for smartphones, Chromebooks and virtual or augmented reality headsets. The main feature of the new generation is the maximum data transfer rate that can reach 11.6 Gigabits per second, close to what is seen in current SSDs.

As the new standard also supports two-band transfers simultaneously, the top speed can reach 23.2 Gigabits per second, which is almost four times more than the current UFS 2.1 used by some top-of-the-line smartphones on the market, such as OnePlus 5, for example.

Cheaper and more common devices still use eMMC memory, which is even slower. In 2016, Samsung was the one who introduced the first external memory cards using the UFS standard that promised to be five times faster than standard microSD cards. Even they are about to become outdated.

As noted by Engadget, this top speed of 23.2 Gbps is within the limits imagined by Jedec for the new standard, but everything will depend on the hardware used by the smartphone to reach those numbers. That is, not every cellphone with this technology will achieve such high transfer rates in practice.

In addition, UFS 3.0 is more economical than its predecessor. The power supply of the new type of memory operates at 2.5 volts, which represents a lower power consumption and, consequently, more savings for the device battery than using this technology.

Finally, Jedec informs that UFS 3.0 supports a wider temperature range. The standard promises to work in environments of minus 40 degrees to 105 degrees Celsius, which ensures more safety for automotive devices that can get to face these extremes (or something close to) on a day to day basis.

An ordinary user may not feel that much difference when using a smartphone with UFS 3.0. In situations of more extreme data generation, however, such as recording videos in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, for example, recording these files in memory will be less stressful for the device, and that is where the difference will be more easily noticed.

There are rumors that the Galaxy S9, Samsung’s next big launch, will come with this new memory standard. However, the information will only be confirmed when the device is officially presented to the world at the end of February.


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