Micron aims to cram more storage in smartphones with 3D NAND flash

Micron's first 3D NAND flash chips will have a 32GB capacity

Micron announced its first 3D NAND chip for mobile devices with the goal of cramming more storage into handsets, and maybe reducing reliance on SD card slots.

3D NAND provides more capacity in the same size chip than other technologies can. Micron's 3D chip has 32GB of capacity and is targeted at mid-range and high-end phones. It's based on the new UFS 2.1 standard, a fast storage protocol that isn't in smartphones yet.

Micron believes internal storage capacity in smartphones will need to grow, especially with new applications like virtual reality and streaming video. Low-end smartphones have as little as 4GB of storage, while the iPhone 6S has up to 128GB.

Micron's goal is to cram even more bits into its 3D NAND mobile chips as it refines the manufacturing process, said Gino Skulick, vice president at Micron’s mobile business unit.

In a few years, internal storage capacity in smartphones could be as great as it is in PCs today, perhaps up to 1TB by 2020, Micron said. But the company didn't provide a roadmap of the storage capacity it will provide in its 3D mobile flash chips.

3D NAND chips are already in SSDs from companies like Intel, and the density they offer is only growing. Micron has said it can cram more than 3.5TB in gumstick-sized SSDs.

The flash chips pack storage cells vertically, like floors in a skyscraper, allowing for higher capacity and faster communications between chips. Current 2D NAND chips have storage cells placed next to each other.

Micron's top competitor is Samsung, which makes 3D flash chips used in handsets like its Galaxy S7 and Note 7. Those handsets have a maximum of 64GB of capacity, after which users can expand storage capacity with SD cards. Samsung has also been using 3D flash to increasing the storage capacity of its enterprise SSDs. In March, it shipped an SSD with a whopping 15.36TB of storage.

Micron's 32GB 3D flash chip will ship to device makers in the second half of next year. The chips were announced at the Flash Memory Summit being held in Santa Clara, California.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?