Seven semiconductor manufacturers have announced their commitment to the introduction of Universal Flash Storage (UFS) -- a new industry specification for removable memory cards and embedded memory chip products for use in next-generation mobile
handsets, PDAs, portable media players, and digital
Micron Technology, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Spansion, STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instruments are all backing the newly proposed standard currently being developed by the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, which has generated several open standards for the semiconductor industry in the past.
The universal popularity of memory cards underscores the importance of this orchestrated move toward the adoption of a common standard for flash memory, said the chairman of JEDEC's board of directors, Mian Quddus, who is also the technical marketing director at Samsung Semiconductor.
"The support of JEDEC for an industry-wide flash storage standard will provide a highly adaptable design environment that will facilitate more widespread adoption of flash memory technology and a profusion of new designs," Quddus said.
No More Card Adapters
The concerted move to push adoption of UFS as a new global standard underscores the consumer electronics industry's need for a universal memory technology. With the introduction of UFS, consumers will be able to buy a single removable memory card that can be swapped among various devices without requiring the use of an intervening card adapter.
Surging demand for storing multimedia content on portable devices of all sizes and stripes requires memory cards and embedded formats featuring higher flash memory densities. Moreover, UFS is expected to give device manufacturers the support they need to provide users with high-speed access to large multimedia files.
For example, today's users of devices equipped with flash memory typically experience a significant delay in accessing movies that take up a sizeable amount of storage space. But according to JEDEC, the new UFS specification is expected to shorten the access time to just a few seconds.
Shooting for 2009 Debut
JEDEC maintains that the new UFS specification not only will encourage the development of new designs, as well as the development of new physical interfaces and bus protocols for portable devices, but also will help reduce power consumption in portable devices.
Having a standard interface is expected to "lower power consumption in portable devices by clarifying how signaling will be performed at the interface and which components have what signaling responsibilities," said STMicroelectronics spokesperson Michael Markowitz.
JEDEC and its participating semiconductor manufacturers expect the new UFS specification to become finalized in 2009. "Standardization of flash-based technologies will be crucial in determining how fast storage devices will be able to fully support industry demand for higher densities and faster transmission speeds," said Micron Technology vice president of NAND chip development Frankie Roohparver.