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Daily Authority: ⏩ Samsung's next-gen flash
✨ Good morning! May the 4th be with you! (Mark Hamill’s tweet back on May 1 was pretty great. Whatever comes later today from him will be fun…)
Samsung’s next generation of its flash storage specification has been announced, with UFS 3.1 now second-best to new UFS 4.0 flash storage from the company.
What is UFS 4.0?
- As with any new chipset improvement, UFS 4.0 has the usual claims of being faster, more efficient, smaller, and so on.
- Of course, that’s what Samsung said about UFS 3.1 as well, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth paying attention to.
- Version 4.0, as written by my colleague Matt Milano: “…provides speeds up to 23.2Gbps per lane, doubling what UFS 3.1 can deliver. Samsung says its throughput makes UFS 4.0 ideal for 5G smartphones, given the large quantity of data 5G phones can download. The new memory will also help power the data requirements of augmented and virtual reality applications.”
- Efficiency wise: “Power efficiency is another benefit of the new architecture, with sequential read speeds coming in at 6.0MB/s per milliampere (mA). According to Samsung, this is 46% more efficient than 3.1, which means users will see improved battery life despite the faster performance.”
- And, when will we get it? “Samsung says it will begin mass production in Q3 2022, meaning UFS 4.0 could appear in phones as soon as late 2022 or early 2023.”
- Samsung is billing this as a big upgrade for 5G phones because 5G data speeds are one of the few times that people regularly need speed, and UFS 4.0 has a “sequential read speed of up to 4,200MB/s and sequential write speed of up to 2,800MB/s” — so gigabytes per second.
What does it really mean?
- That’s all fine and good, but there are a few pieces to dig into here.
- The first is that we’ll almost certainly see UFS 4.0 in some part of the Galaxy S23 series next year, though maybe it’ll make the next Samsung foldables?
- I’d bet we have to wait until the S23, so it might be some time before we see how this improves speed in any tangible way, or battery life, perhaps just as importantly.
- The second is that cheap Android phones (under $200) aren’t even using UFS. Most are stuck using eMMC, which is outdated, and therefore cheaper to pop into a budget phone. But eMMC is a real bottleneck for smartphone use — our article on different flash memory has the metaphor that you should think of UFS as a two-way multi-lane highway and eMMC as a one-way road. (And UFS 4.0 is probably more like a two-way multi-lane Autobahn and it’s the no speed limit section that still exists today.)
- The final point is that UFS 4.0 may not apply to iPhones.
- Apple has stuck with using NVMe and not UFS for its storage interface, and there are interesting/complicated reasons for that.
- It boils down to it not being about maximum speeds, but control, and AnandTech had a good look at Apple seemingly adapting its MacBook NVMe controller to the iPhone back in the iPhone 6S days.
- Anyway: I hope this means older UFS tech can become cheaper, and give value phones a little more speed. We’ll see if it matters to the top-end, in time.
👉 Samsung’s UFS 4.0 flash storage announced: A pretty major upgrade, especially for 5G phones if you’re really going hard on data (Android Authority).
💰 Thought the Xperia 1 III was expensive? Xperia 1 IV could get a price hike. Oof, Sony seems to keep going for ultra-premium (Android Authority).
📂 Google Pixel Fold leak suggests a device that, when closed, will be smaller than the Galaxy Z Fold 4, and a little bigger than the Oppo Find N (Android Authority).
📁 Oppo could launch a clamshell foldable this year at a surprisingly low price: a rumor suggests $750, though in China (Android Authority).
🛑 YouTube Go becomes YouTube stop: The lightweight app introduced by Google back in 2016 will be killed off (Android Authority).
🆕 Simone Giertz’s online store sells cool inventions “you didn’t know you didn’t want”: such as “a Phillips head screw turned into a ring. It’s useless, cute, and looking for a finger.” And can not be used as a fastener (The Verge).
👉 Blizzard gives sneak peek of new mobile game Warcraft Arclight Rumble: free-to-play tower defense strategy game on Android and iOS. I can’t say I like most free-to-play games but tower defense is usually fun! (Engadget).
😬 Arm, owned by SoftBank, seems to have partially regained control of Arm China, a remarkable rogue company with a CEO that ignored the parent company and retained control. However, a letter from Arm China employees seems to indicate hundreds are unhappy with the change. Arm describes it as a “longstanding corporate governance issue” (The Register).
🔋 The US Department of Energy announced that it was releasing over $3 billion in funds to stimulate the production of batteries within the country (Ars Technica).
👉 Meta has built a massive new language AI just like GPT-3 — and it’s giving it away to researchers for free, (MIT Technology Review) and here’s some valid criticism of what “transparency” means here (Twitter).
⛔ Every ISP in the US has been ordered to block three pirate streaming services run by mysterious defendants (Ars Technica).
🕵️♂️ The pandemic gave scientists a new way to spy on emissions(Wired).
📞 “What should NOT have been invented?” (r/askreddit).
Good news: Microsoft is getting weird with Xbox controllers! Bad news: The truly weird is only in the UK.
So, first of all, Xbox released two new colors for the Xbox Series X/S controller.
- The first, available everywhere, is a delightful new hue called Deep Pink, which is really hot pink, and features a pink coating to the usual Xbox controller, with some white accents on the back and black buttons with pink font.
- I mean it’s fine, it looks good.
- But the real magic is a special tartan controller, made in partnership with famous Scottish tartan/kilt designers, and weaving mills, and so on:
- And, to be clear, it’s real fabric on the controller, not a print! It’s probably the kind of thing you wouldn’t want your grubby little hands on, more of a designer piece.
- Anyway, your only chance to get one was to be in the UK and to win one from Microsoft, so… we missed out.
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor