While today's mobile devices use either UFS (Universal Flash Storage) or eMMC (embedded multi-media card)-based NAND flash solutions to store information, eMMC5.1 chips are becoming progressively unable to meet the data transmission speed demands of high-end mobile devices, according to Digitimes Research.
UFS2.1-based NAND flash chips boast the highest data transmission speed of up to 11.6Gbps (1200MB/s) compared to 3.2Gbps (400MB/s) attainable by eMMC5.1 chips. The difference will make UFS2.1 NAND flash chips the mainstream storage technology for smartphones in 2017, Digitimes Research commented.
Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix and Toshiba are currently the major suppliers of UFS-based chips, while Micron Technology is expected to start ramping up its output in 2017. But the supply of UFS chips from these big players has been unable to cope with demand from the high-end mobile device segment in the first half of 2017 as most chipmakers were busy shifting their capacity to 2D/3D NAND flash products. Rising demand from other end-market applications such as SSDs also squeezed supply.
With chipmakers planning to ramp up their capacity for UFS chips in the second half of 2017, increased 3D NAND flash capacity coupled with improving yield rates will be instrumental to raising the penetration rate of UFS chips in latter half of 2017. This will pave the way for UFS to spread to the entry-level and mid-tier mobile device segments in 2018.