In the last few weeks, Samsung have announced some smartphone components believed to be finding a home in the new Galaxy S6 smartphone, which we’re expecting to be unveiled this Sunday. These new components include the new Exynos 7 processor built on a 14nm die size process and new memory units (an 8 Gb LPDDR4 RAM chip, providing devices with 4 GB of RAM). The combination of making more RAM available to Android and building processors on a smaller die size should improve performance and reduce power consumption. And now today Samsung have demonstrated a 128 GB NAND memory unit based on the UFS (Universal Flash Storage) 2.0 standard. UFS 2.0 is considerably quicker than older established flash standards. It’s also significantly quicker than a MicroSD card, which I will come back to later.
In the detail, UFS 2.0’s improvements over and above the eMMC 5.0 standard is that it allows the simultaneous reading and writing of data to the storage card, whereas eMMC 5.0 (and 5.1) only allows one way data flow. Furthermore, UFS 2.0 includes a Command Queue function, which allows the unit to establish the order to complete its memory operations. It can sort and reorder transactions in the queue. In terms of data transfer speeds, UFS 2.0 is more than three times quicker than a MicroSD card and can handle many, many more operations per second. It does all this whilst using less power compared with existing memory storage chips.
The advantage of the higher performance memory is that it means Android will be better able to run multiple resource-heavy applications in the background, such as downloading or uploading large files, playing massive games or high resolution videos, without the characteristic hesitation and stuttering. Samsung are but one manufacturer offering UFS 2.0 support. The new UFS 2.0 memory chip will be available in 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB capacities, which increases the likelihood that the Galaxy S6 will be offered in a 128 GB size. The down side to this is that, given Samsung’s focus on showing how much quicker the embedded UFS 2.0 standard is compared with MicroSD, it’s increasingly likely that the Galaxy S6 will exclude a MicroSD card slot. We’ll know in a few days!