Western Digital adds new embedded flash drive storage option for 5G phones

The company says the storage will make it easier for users to take advantage of Wi-Fi 6 connections by speeding up sequential writes and downloads.

5g concept

Image: TierneyMJ/Shutterstock

Western Digital launched a second-generation UFS 3.1 storage solution for 5G smartphones Tuesday. According to the company, the iNAND MC EU551 embedded flash drive provides 100% improvement in random read performance and up to 40% on random writes to support mixed workload experiences such as running multiple applications simultaneously.

Other updates include:

  • 90% improvement in sequential writes to help realize the new 5G and Wi-Fi 6 download speed potential as well as improved performance for applications such as burst mode photography.
  • 30% improvement in sequential reads for faster application launch with shorter boot-up time, and faster upload speeds. 

The company expects the EFD to support emerging applications like ultra-high-resolution cameras, AR/VR, gaming and 8K video. 

SEE: Western Digital launches edge server family to support lower latency and real-time processing (TechRepublic) 

"Coupled with high-speed 5G networks, sensor innovation and artificial intelligence, the average capacity in phones is growing as is the need for higher performance to handle new multimedia capabilities," Huibert Verhoeven, senior vice president for automotive, mobile and emerging markets for Western Digital, said in a press release. "With this new UFS 3.1 iNAND solution, we allow users to tap into data-rich applications and enjoy faster streaming for new ways to play, work and learn."

As reported on ZDNet, Strategy Analytics found that global 5G smartphone sales reached a record 136 million units in Q1 2021. Also, analyst Canalys estimates 5G phones represented 37% of global smartphone shipments in Q1 2021 and predicted these devices would account for 43% of the 610 million smartphones sold this year. 

According to Western Digital, the iNAND MC EU551 uses faster NAND, a faster controller and a new firmware design and, according to the company, delivers the following improvements over the previous generation, with up to a: 

  • 100% improvement in random read performance and up to 40% on random writes, to help support mixed workload experiences like running multiple applications simultaneously.
  • 90% improvement in sequential writes to help realize the new 5G and Wi-Fi 6 download speed potential. This gives consumers a better experience when streaming rich media files such as 8K video, as well as improved performance for applications like burst mode photography.
  • 30% improvement in sequential reads lets applications launch faster with shorter boot-up time, and enables faster upload speeds. 

The iNAND MC EU551 is the latest addition to the iNAND product line. The iNAND MC EU551 mobile storage device is the first product built on Western Digital's new UFS 3.1 platform.

The device meets the JEDEC UFS 3.1 specification requirements and uses the latest Write Booster technology based on Western Digital's 7th generation SmartSLCTM. It also features Host Performance Booster version 2.0.

The Western Digital plans to make the iNAND MC EU551 UFS 3.1 embedded flash drive widely available in July. The storage solution is available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities. 

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By Veronica Combs

Veronica Combs is a senior writer at TechRepublic. For more than 10 years, she has covered technology, healthcare, and business strategy. In addition to her writing and editing expertise, she has managed small and large teams at startups and establis...