Mobility

Samsung shifts the paradigm once again

Samsung continues to set the mobile landscape ablaze with speed and size. Find out what the company's latest announcement could mean for you.

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Imagine, if you will, that your mobile device contained the same amount of storage as your SSD-toting desktop or laptop. Gone would be the constant struggle to make room for apps and data. No longer would you see those dreaded Device full errors.

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If Samsung has its way (and it most assuredly will), the company will be shipping flagship devices that include a remarkable 256 GB memory chip, based on the Universal Flash Storage 2.0 standard. That's right, ladies and gents, a flagship smartphone that contains as much storage as many desktops and laptops. What's best, this new chip from Samsung will outperform the current crop of SATA-based SSDs shipped on most laptops and desktops.

"By providing high-density UFS memory that is nearly twice as fast as a SATA SSD for PCs, we will contribute to a paradigm shift within the mobile data storage market," said Joo Sun Choi, Executive Vice President, Memory Sales and Marketing, Samsung Electronics.

Yes, indeed, you will.

Size and speed

The chips themselves will be based on Samsung's V-NAND flash memory chips and will included a specially designed, high-performance controller. For those who need numbers (for comparison) the previous generation UFS memory could handle read/write speeds up to 19,000 (input operations per second) and 14,000 (output operations per second). The new Samsung chips can handle read/write speeds of up to 45,000 (input operations per second) and 40,000 (output operations per second). That's a significant leap in performance. Add to that the massive increase in size and you do have a serious game changer.

The new 256 GB UFS chips use two lanes of data transfer to move data at up to 850 MB/s. Yet again another massive besting of typical SATA-based SSDs. For sequential writing, the chips support up to 260 MB/s.

The besting keeps on coming.

In real time, this means that mobile devices will now be able to handle seamless 4K Ultra HD video playback while simultaneously multitasking. These new chips are also even smaller than today's external microSD cards... which means they won't cause problems for smartphone designers and manufacturers.

Odd timing

But let's consider Samsung alone. Its next flagship device, the Galaxy S7, will not include the beefed up chip (although it will re-introduce external microSD card support). Samsung did eventually release Galaxy 6S variant that included the 128 GB chip. Will the same thing happen this time around? Maybe this is a bit of sleight of hand on the part of Samsung that goes something like this:

  • Hey, here's the latest, greatest smartphone from Samsung
  • Fans purchase shiny new Samsung smartphone
  • Hey, we've invented a faster chip for smartphones
  • Fans groan
  • Hey, we're releasing a variant of our latest smartphone to include the shiny new chip
  • Fans grumble, but purchase the shiny new smartphone with the shiny new chip
  • Samsung bathes in money

Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration. But you get the idea. What Samsung should be doing is announcing the new chip and then announcing the new device that will include the new chip upon release. That certainly didn't happen. In fact, the announcement of the new chip came a scant three days after the announcement of the Galaxy S7. My guess is that it will do the same thing it did with the 6S and release a variant S7 that includes the new 256 GB chip. When that will happen? No one knows.

The ante is upped

However, the oddly timed announcements is splitting hairs a bit. The truth of the matter is this. Samsung is (once again) seriously upping the ante for the world of mobility. The very idea of having such a high-speed storage chip on a smartphone has been unheard of until now. And as much as I hate the term, this truly is a paradigm shift for the mobile landscape.

If you've been anxiously awaiting the release of the Galaxy S7, it might be in your best interest to hold off purchasing until later on in the year. Yes, the variant will probably cost you quite a bit of coin, but having a high-end device with such massive (and speedy) storage would be worth the wait.

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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