High performance, low power Universal Flash Storage (UFS) represents the future of mobile storage, as underscored by the wide adoption of embedded mobile products, and the recent arrival of removable UFS Cards. With 2019 launches of some UFS Card systems underway, 2020 is expected to be the year that UFS Cards become the industry choice for removable mobile storage.
September 2019: UFS Card won best product innovation award at CFMS (China Flash Market Summit) in Shenzhen, China
Sequential Read performance 5x faster than SD card
Random Read performance 70x faster than SD card
UFS is a superior open-standard flash memory interface developed by JEDEC (world leader in semiconductor standards), first used in embedded storage and extended to UFS Card storage using a royalty-free form factor. Higher performance versions of UFS and UFS Cards continue to be developed, as well.
UFSA (Universal Flash Storage Association) has coordinated with JEDEC and industry leaders to develop compliance testing and logo certification programs for UFS to create a robust ecosystem, enabling system houses to launch UFS Card systems with multiple suppliers.
“Embedded UFS and UFS Cards demonstrate the power of leading-edge companies working together through JEDEC and the UFSA, responding to the global need for higher performance storage, and related open-standard products,” said Mian Quddus, Board Chairman for JEDEC and the UFSA.
Through several compliance workshops, UFSA has certified multiple UFS Cards as well as several UFS controllers and controller IP. Coupled with multiple socket suppliers and UFS-to-USB bridge chips, the new UFS suppliers have fortified the UFS ecosystem now in place for system houses.
“UFSA created the compliance testing environment for the JEDEC UFS standard to enable high confidence in certified products,” said Perry Keller, Keysight Digital Standards and Applications Program lead, and UFSA Compliance Chairman. “UFSA continues to hold workshops to permit certification of additional products and suppliers.”
Test equipment products from Keysight, BitifEye, and Protocol Insight have been instrumental in expanding the environment for enabling automated testing and certification.
A proliferation of embedded UFS products has occurred rapidly for a wide range of applications including smartphones, tablets and drones. The ramp of UFS Cards, however, because it directly involves the end user, requires extensive compliance and compatibility testing to insure interoperability among suppliers. Since UFSA created its compliance test matrix, it has certified a robust set of suppliers. Recent introductions by LG and Samsung Electronics add to the growing list of laptops and Netbook computers supporting UFS Cards. (links included below)
Three UFS Card developers have UFSA-certified devices (Phison, Samsung Electronics, and Silicon Motion (SMI)).
“We are ready to support the industry as the market accelerates,” said Horace Chen, Director of Mobile Storage at Phison and UFSA Board member.
“UFS Cards will play a critical role in speeding up the storage process, and growing storage capacity,” said Hangu Sohn, vice president of NAND Memory Planning at Samsung Electronics. “Moreover, with a royalty-free form factor and open standard design, we expect to see a rapid transition to these cards in 2020.”
“We are active contributors to UFS controller and Card designs and we are ready to meet the needs of the industry as it ramps up,” said Robert Hsieh, Director of Mobile Storage Marketing at Silicon Motion and UFSA Board member.
Adding the capabilities of USB3.1 and USB Type C card readers for UFS enables the UFS Card to be the transfer device of choice between devices. (link below)
At the recent IFA Berlin, the Hisense T91 cell phone prototype demonstrated UFS Cards run circles around microSD cards with 6x faster sequential read and write speeds, and 35x better random writes. The UFS Card is also a good deal faster than built-in eMMC storage that is commonly used in non-premium devices. The numbers come close to the speed of built-in UFS 2.1, which was used in recent flagships (e.g. Galaxy S10, Huawei P30 and others). Clearly the UFS Card technology is ready and Qualcomm’s chipsets support it.
UFS eco system providers within UFSA:
- Certified Golden UFS Cards – Phison, Samsung Electronics, SMI
- Certified UFS Controllers – Phison, SMI
- Certified Controller IP – Synopsys
- UFS to USB Bridge Controllers – SMI, JMicron
- Sockets – Amphenol, Molex
- Test Equipment – BitifEye, Keysight, Protocol Insight
- Test Fixtures – Astek
Lisa Rhoden, UFSA President