On The Move


Removable Storage cards, what’s next?

UFS is gaining momentum with more phones such as Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G5, and potentially more phones are coming to the market in 2nd half of 2016 with UFS memory on board. The performance improvements from the mainstream, mature eMMC allows SoCs targeting high end phones a way to differentiate and provide a much better user experience.
eMMC vs UFS concept

In the DesignCon 2015 UFSA panel I along with the other panelists discussed that UFS allows 15% reduction in booting time, 30% reduction in Application Loading time, and 30% reduction in Application Switching time compared to alternative storage options. Such representations are used many times a day by smartphone users hence they provide a real benefit to the end user making the experience more interactive and highly responsive.
UFS shows dominance in Random Read and Random Write metrics as well as Total system power reduction compared to other storage options. These metrics can be associated with the increased responsiveness of the smartphone utilizing the faster and lower power UFS memory.

There were a lot of speculations about why the Galaxy S6 did not include microSD expandable storage, and why LG G5 phone did include one.
Galaxy S6’s decision not to include micro SD slot could mean Samsung did not want to potentially limit the super fast UFS device. In a random read test done, microSD memory inside the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy S5 performed more than 10 times slower than UFS 2.0. And as we covered earlier UFS provide a different user experience, which a slower removable storage card could impact.
UFS 2.0 vs eMMC 5.0 sequential and random speeds

It will be difficult to argue against having the capability to extend the memory capacity after buying the phone. Users around the world would pay extra for that capability and it’s proven to be a factor in the decision making when phone are pretty exhaled.

We can clearly see the need in having a much faster small form factor removable card that could meet the increasing system performance requirements and work along the embedded UFS device which will gain more popularity in the coming year in mobile applications and beyond.

JEDEC UFS Removable Card v1.0 standard was published this week, to address this need. This standard co-sponsored by Synopsys will allow designs to utilize this high performance and low power technology in mobile applications initially and I believe will trickle to other applications soon. Built on the UFS 2.0 spec, the UFS card allows to use a single lane to minimize number of pins and is targeted to operate at the fastest speed gear (5.8Gbps). The increased amount of multimedia information in mobile, virtual Reality and augmented reality electronics (several image sensors, 4K/8K view) requires this kind of high performance, and expandability to the industry. Having UFS card and micro SF card allow phone manufactures the flexibility to choose the right removable storage to accompany the embedded one without compromising user experience.

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