Samsung brings us UFS 4.0 to bring improved speed, greater longevity and lower power consumption in the new smartphones that will be released in a short time, compared to its predecessor.
Although the performance of a smartphone is usually measured based on its processing capacity, the storage speed is a book to say that it has an equally large impact on its positioning in the sector.
Early Android devices used eMMC-based flash storage, a storage technology significantly slower than modern Universal Flash Storage (UFS). This translates to faster app launches and faster overall speed on the smartphone.
Just for context, UFS is an interface that can perform read and write operations simultaneously, unlike eMMC, which has to do each task separately. Additionally, UFS benefits from higher bandwidth support and also consumes less power compared to eMMC.
Although eMMC storage is still used in some smartphones, UFS storage has prevailed mainly in the mid-range and high-end segments.
In this sense, Samsung Semiconductor’s announcement of its Universal Flash Storage 4.0 chips in May 2022 has great benefits for today’s electronics industry.
Let’s take a look at what to expect from the latest UFS 4.0 standard, when manufacturers might start including it on Android devices, and what benefits it can bring us, in this report.
What is UFS 4.0?
UFS 4.0 is the new generation of UFS (Universal Flash Storage) technology that Samsung is going to bring us. This new storage standard comes two years after it was announced by Samsung and promises twice the performance of its predecessor. It succeeds UFS 3.1, which is just over two years old at this point.
Using its seventh generation V-NAND flash memory technology and proprietary controller, Samsung has designed this novelty.
NAND flash memory is a storage technology that can retain data without the need for electricity. V-NAND is an improvement on NAND technology because the cell planes are stacked vertically. This makes it possible to improve speed, increase longevity and reduce power consumption.
What advantages will it bring with respect to version 3.1?
UFS 4.0 is a significant improvement over UFS 3.1. By comparison, Samsung claims the new standard offers vastly improved transfer speeds, power efficiency, and even space savings.
More specifically, UFS 4.0 can achieve transfer speeds of up to 23.2 Gbps per channel (remember that they are dual-channel, allowing you to perform two tasks simultaneously), which is twice the speed of UFS 3.1.
As for the actual numbers, the company claims that UFS 4.0 can deliver sequential read speeds of up to 4,200MB/s and write speeds of up to 2,800MB/s (2,100MB/s and 1,200MB/s, UFS 3.1, respectively).
It’s also much more efficient at 6.0 MB/s per milliamp (mA), which translates to 46% less power consumption than its predecessor.
Samsung has kept its compact size. To give you an idea, UFS 4.0 has a maximum size of 11mm in length, 13mm in width and 1mm in height. Another thing to note here is that the standard allows up to 1TB of storage, which was previously limited to 512GB.
What does UFS 4.0 mean for the future of Android smartphones?
Of course, faster storage is as important to a smartphone as the processor, and it seems that it is not given the necessary attention at the user level. And it is that, if the storage installed in your phone is not fast enough, you will notice a slower boot, a longer time to load applications and a higher energy consumption.
Thanks to the increased bandwidth, users will experience improved load times for games and applications. The fact of carrying out several tasks at the same time will consume much less energy. In short, the increased bandwidth of UFS 4.0 should be enough for everyday situations like loading apps and games.
It will also be a great help for high resolution and high frame rate video recording, as well as other memory intensive applications. On the other hand, the increased efficiency should directly translate into longer battery life for smartphones.
Samsung believes that the faster transfer speeds will also help emerging technologies such as virtual and augmented reality. In fact, portable devices like the Meta Quest series could benefit.
When is this new standard going to hit the market?
Currently, no smartphone manufacturer has announced smartphones with UFS 4.0 storage. However, Samsung expects mass manufacturing to begin in the third quarter of 2022.
In other words, we will have to wait until the beginning of 2023 for UFS 4.0 to reach mainstream smartphones, both Android, with the Galaxy series, for example, and those from Apple. Even then, it may take a bit longer for mainstream adoption once the manufacturing volume and performances of these chips improve.
It is also to be expected that UFS 4.0 chips will be priced slightly higher than storage technologies already on the market. That is why, first of all, we will see it in high-end smartphones.
Over time, however, the technology will also end up reaching the mid-range segment as we have already seen with UFS 3.1 , which we can already see in lower ranges such as the Pixel 6.a.
What smartphones use UFS 4.0 storage?
Starting with the Galaxy S23 series, upcoming Samsung smartphones will incorporate the latest UFS 4.0 technology. It’s also quite likely that OnePlus, Xiaomi, Google, and Oppo will adopt this next-gen storage standard by 2023, like the OnePlus 11 and Pixel 7.
As for iPhones, Apple uses NVMe storage instead of UFS due to the write speeds being better than this standard, so there’s little to talk about here.
Of course, this speed improvement will benefit 5G smartphones, in-vehicle apps, and AR/VR-enabled devices that require extensive data processing.