LAS VEGAS -- Toshiba America Electronic Components announced at the Consumer Electronics Show that its universal flash storage (UFS) implementation will be added to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset. UFS version 2.0 products will go into production for smartphones and tablets in the second quarter.
"You'll see some initial systems at end of 2014, but basically 2015 is when the primary ramp is," Scott Beekman, director of managed NAND memory products, told us. "By 2016, we expect UFS to account for the majority of [flash] demand for tablets and high-end smartphones."
UFS, a next-generation embedded flash memory device (following eMMC), delivers a threefold boost in performance for advanced mobile applications. UFS 2.0 supports a maximum data rate of 1.2GByte/sec, compared with 400 MByte/sec for eMMC 5.0. The UFS serial interface supports command queuing, as well as full duplex operation to read and write at same time.
Though eMMC has lower idle/sleep power and a lower cost, Beekman said UFS provides better power efficiency, and he expects the price gap between the two to decrease over time. UFS 2.0 is not backward compatible with e-MMC.
"High-end smartphones and tablets will be the first to adopt and take advantage of the performance benefits of UFS over e-MMC," Scott Nelson, senior vice president of TAEC's memory business unit, said in a press release. "As UFS migrates to mid-range products, the embedded mobile memory market will transition from e-MMC to UFS, though e-MMC will likely continue to support the low-end for some time."
Among lower-tier mobile devices, Beekman said, eMMC will remain dominant though 2016, when UFS will account for approximately 40% of the market. By 2017, UFS will surpass eMMC.
Toshiba is the first company to announce product-ready shipments of UFS, though Beekman said he expects major NAND suppliers will also ship UFS. "Given eMMC is such a dominate solution for smartphones and tablets, it's an important step toward a new solution in the market."
— Jessica Lipsky, Associate Editor, EE Times