The microSD card has being around so long it is hard to envision something else replacing it. Well, that is what Samsung’s is aiming to do with the removable UFS (Universal Flash Storage) cards. Actually, it is a record of sort, as this is the first kind of UFS to be made that is removable.
This implies that UFS are already in existence. But the difference is that they are not removable. Instead they are embedded inside devices like the Galaxy S6 and the S6 Edge.
So what is so special about this new UFS apart from the fact it can be removed from a device like a normal microSD card?
Well, according to Samsung, UFS provide more than just storage in very many ways. For one, speed of data exchange. Take your normal average microSD card bought at the mobile accessories shop for instance; and let’s assume you bought the very best, the UFS is more than eight times faster than that one.
Or take the top of the range SanDisk memory cards, the UFS would give you five times more speed. At its best, the speed of data transfer is up to 170MB/s. Which means the card can read an average mp4 movie file of 300 MB in less than two seconds. Or a 1GB file in less than 10 seconds.
And because they can read data faster, making removable storage very large can be done easily and conveniently.
The idea of a UFS begins to make a lot of sense when you think of the sophisticated gadgets coming on stream. Most of these gadgets, including mobile phones, drones and VR and AR devices, usually have high-end camera lens taking increasingly high resolution videos and images. So a UFS card is needed in order not to waste time transferring data or large files from one device to another.
The news of the new UFS was announced in a press release on Samsung’s blog. The release had this to say in part:
Samsung’s new 256GB UFS removable memory card ─ simply referred to as the UFS card will provide greatly improved user experiences, especially in high-resolution 3D gaming and high-resolution movie playback. It provides more than five times faster sequential read performance compared to that of a typical microSD card, reading sequentially at 530 megabytes per second (MB/s) which is similar to the sequential read speed of the most widely used SATA SSDs. With this UFS card, consumers have the ability to read a 5GB, Full-HD movie in approximately 10 seconds, compared to a typical UHS-1 microSD card, which would take over 50 seconds with 95MB/s of sequential reading speed. Also, at a random read rate of 40,000 IOPS, the 256GB card delivers more than 20 times higher random read performance compared to a typical microSD, which offers approximately 1,800 IOPS.”
For me, and I am sure for many of us in Africa, all these gadgets can only be useful when they become available. And are affordable. So far Samsung has given no inkling on the cost of the UFS. But I am willing to bet it is not going to be cheap. As usual we will have to wait for the Chinese to clone a cheaper version before the masses can afford it.
For now though. UFS is not compatible with any device in the market. Maybe, the next generation of mobile phones would see some minor design change to accommodate the UFS card. This needs to be so. Though the UFS is shaped like the microSD, the contact points on the chip are aligned differently. So this hardware discrepancy in existing mobile devices must be addressed first.
However, I am staking my reputation on the fact that the next generation of Samsung Galaxy phones would be made compatible with the UFS card.
image credit: Samsung; flipkart.com